Think back: Have you ever been owed money — maybe a refund from a business, security deposit from a landlord or the return of a deposit from a utility company — and never received it? Could you be owed a tax refund that never arrived? Or maybe you never got that last paycheck from a former employer?

If so, the N.C. Department of State Treasurer may have some of your money. Even if those specific situations don’t apply to you, it is still quite possible that there is unclaimed cash in your name — and as state treasurer, I want you to have it.

As keeper of the public purse, I oversee DST’s Unclaimed Property Division, which safeguards $919 million belonging to North Carolinians just like you. This property comes from forgotten bank accounts, insurance policies, refunds and stocks. We even maintain physical items found in abandoned bank safe deposit boxes.

Here at the State Treasurer’s Office, we are in the check-delivery business, which includes not just putting your missing cash back in your pocket, but sending out more than $750 million in monthly pension and health care benefits to state retirees.

Returning unclaimed property is one of the most important functions of my office. Our objective is to make sure every penny gets back into the hands of the people of North Carolina. That’s why searching for property and filing claims is always free at NCCash.com, the official website of UPD.

Many individuals, families, businesses and organizations across North Carolina have received funds through our unclaimed property system. Some of these recipients, such as the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle in Raleigh, have used these funds to help those in need.

In 2020, representatives from the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle visited the State Treasurer’s Office to receive a $2,550 check from UPD. They told us that food costs have soared during the pandemic, but that these funds would go a long way to help them meet the needs of their community. We have returned money to the Carolina Panthers, which donated the windfall to Safe Alliance, a nonprofit serving individuals and families in the Charlotte area. We have presented unclaimed property checks to the Thalian Association Community Theatre in Wilmington, North Carolina’s officially designated community theater, and so many more individuals and organizations.

There are over 18 million records at NCCash.com including lots of entries for nonprofits. We’re constantly looking for nonprofits all over North Carolina who have cash at NCCash.com.

It’s a simple thing — we are just returning money to the people, businesses and organizations it belongs to. As much as we greatly enjoy it, it’s somewhat of a guilty pleasure because we don’t want to have that money in our possession to distribute. We are dedicated to making sure your money doesn’t stay in the government’s hands forever, and want to send out as much of this money as we can, as quickly as we can, to its rightful owners.

That’s why we need your help.

Even if you don’t think you are owed money, there’s no harm in checking. We have more properties in our possession than there are people in North Carolina, so your odds of having money just waiting to be claimed are much higher than playing the lottery.

Please visit NCCash.com, DST’s official website for unclaimed property. On that site, you can safely search for your name, as well as the names of your friends, family, neighbors, colleagues, church or charitable group to see if you or anyone you know are owed money by the state. Anyone with unclaimed property can file a claim for free at NCCash.com.

If you would prefer to call instead, our unclaimed property hotline is available at 866-NC-CASH1 (866-622-2741). Our knowledgeable staff will be happy to help you search for property and file a claim over the phone.

Searching for property and filing a claim at NCCash.com or via our unclaimed property hotline is always free and secure. If you find unclaimed property that belongs to your friends and family, please let them know how easy it is to file a claim and encourage them to do so.

Have you ever lived in a state other than North Carolina? Every state has its own unclaimed property office, usually housed within their state treasury departments. It is a good idea to check with the unclaimed property office of every state where you have lived as they may have some money with your name on it.

So, whether you want to search for funds for yourself, your business, or your family and friends, please log on to NCCash.com to see if you have any property to claim. There’s nothing to lose, and there may be a lot to gain.

Dale Folwell is the state treasurer of North Carolina.