Have you ever seen those commercials on TV about people who are owed money and don't even know it? They claim that you should go online and check to see if the government owes you money (or somewhere else). Of course it makes it sound as if just about everyone will be able to find unclaimed money that belongs to them. Personally I have to wonder how anyone could forget that there is money out there somewhere with his or her name on it. If I was supposed to get a tax refund, I can guarantee that even if I moved a dozen times before my refund check was mailed, I would certainly be sure to let the government know how to find me so I could get my money!
Anyway, today I checked my mail and got a letter in my box that doesn't belong to me. It's the right address, just not the right addressee. This woman wasn't even the previous owner - she was the previous, previous owner - and hasn't lived here in at least a dozen years. There is in fact a distinct possibility that she is deceased. We get these letters for her a few times a year, no matter how many times I send them back with a note that this person does not live here. I've gotten to where I just throw them away, but today I decided to be nosy and I opened it! (I'm pretty sure it's a federal offense to open someone else's mail. Don't report me!) Honestly I'm surprised I didn't open these things before now - the letter is from the State of South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services. Whoa! Doesn't that sound like a letter that's just begging to be read? Was the sweet little old lady who used to live here an ex-con? Did granny knock off a liquor store or something? But imagine my surprise when I opened the letter it says this:
"According to our records, you appear to be the owner of some unclaimed funds. Please be advised that we have monies pending that need to be disbursed to you."
Whoa, again! There really ARE people with unclaimed money! Then my imagination started going again and I wondered why the department of jail stuff would owe her money. Maybe she spent time in the pokey for knocking off a liquor store even though she was innocent! She was convicted back in the day before DNA testing (surely the perp would have tossed back a brewski or two on the way out the door) and since then the Innocence Project has been working diligently to clear her name. And now the state of SC has to pay her restitution for all those lost years. It could happen!
I have a feeling the truth is much different though, since the last line states this:
"If a response is not received within 90 days from the date of this notice, the funds will be reported as unclaimed and will be transferred to the Office of the Governor, State Office of Victim Assistance."
Uh-oh. Victim Assistance? Does this mean she was a victim of something? Maybe she took someone to court and this is a payment of her settlement or something. Now that I mention it, the letter is addressed to Jane, Doe with a long ID number of some sort that starts with a "V". I hope it was something little like a fairly small car wreck or a pair of missing pants from the dry cleaner. Or maybe they just donate any unclaimed money to Victim Assistance out of goodwill. I guess I'll never know!