NASHVILLE (WKRN) – Every year millions of dollars in uncashed checks, insurance benefits, stock pay outs or even utility deposits are turned over to the Tennessee Department of Treasury because the rightful owners cannot be located. The Division of Unclaimed Property then takes up the task of notifying the person who is entitled to the money or their heirs in case of death.

The Better Business Bureau said they’ve received several people calling them to ask if the letters are real. The letters are in fact legitimate. Every year when the Department of Treasury gets a list of new unclaimed property, the department sends out letters to the last known address of the person who is the owner of the property. Even though it is called unclaimed “property,” it is actually money. It can be utility deposits, investment revenue, or a number of other payments owed to Tennesseans that the company who owed the money could not return.

Last year the Tennessee Department of Treasury has more than $720 million in unclaimed property. So far, 75,000 letters have gone out and about 150,000 more letters are going to go out to people. It can be difficult to find the rightful owners because they sometime move without leaving a forwarding address or pass away.

More: List of those owed money by the state of Tennessee

“There is no statute of limitation. You can claim it at any time,” Communications Director Shelli King said. “Our job is to get it back to where it belongs.”

Even though it is called unclaimed “property,” this is strictly money.

“In 2015, we returned more than $40 million, which was a dramatically-increased number. We attribute to our website,” King said. “The people that believe it are very excited, but some people don’t believe it is real. We are taught to be suspicious we are afraid it is a scam.”

King warns there are websites that will charge a fee to check for unclaimed property. This service is a free one guaranteed by the federal Consumer Protection Act.

“That is why I stress that you want to go to the Tennessee Treasury Department and,” King said. “It is very simple. You click claim and collect and you are ready to go.”

There is also a website for the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators at

It takes between six to eight weeks to get a check from the state.More:Click here to see if your name is on the list.