Hunt the US Treasury for Your Lost Money

Illustration of Edmond Dantes Discovering the Treasure of the Island of Monte Cristo
Illustration of Edmond Dantes Discovering the Treasure of the Island of Monte Cristo. Stefano Bianchetti / Getty Images

Unfortunately, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Treasury Hunt website for finding and claiming lost U.S. Savings Bonds is no longer available. Instead, persons wishing to claim and recover lost, stolen, or destroyed bonds should submit Fiscal Service Form 1048, Claim for Lost, Stolen, or Destroyed United States Savings Bonds. Form 1048, along with instructions are available at https://www.treasurydirect.gov/forms/sav1048.pdf

Filing a Claim for Lost Savings Bonds

When filing the Fiscal Service Form 1048, Claim for Lost, Stolen, or Destroyed United States Savings Bonds, the Treasury Department offers the following advice:

The serial numbers of all bonds should be listed if available. If a bond’s serial number is unavailable, the following information for each bond being claimed must be provided on the Fiscal Service Form 1048, regardless of the type of ownership for the bond:

  • The month and year the bond was purchased.
  • The bond owner’s first and last name as it appeared on the original bond (plus the owner’s middle name or initial, if it was on the original bond.)
  • The original owner’s street address, city, and state.
  • The bond owner’s Social Security Number (Taxpayer Identification Number) as it appeared on the original bond.

To avoid processing delays, the Treasury Department advises that each required Fiscal Service Form 1048, along with any additional documents, should be completed fully and correctly, signed, and certified according to the instructions provided on the form.

Options for Successfully Claimed Savings Bonds

Once the existence and legal ownership of lost, stolen, or destroyed bonds has been verified by filing the required Fiscal Service Form 1048, owners of the bonds have the following options:

For Series EE and I Bonds

  • Cash them.
  • Replace them with a bond in electronic form.

    For Series HH Bonds

    • Cash them
    • Replace them with paper bonds.

    For Series E and H Bonds

    • Cash them.

    More about U.S. Savings Bonds

    Holders of Series H or HH savings bonds, which pay interest currently, should also check the Treasury Hunt web site to look for interest payments returned to the U.S. Bureau of the Public Debt as undeliverable. The most common cause for a payment to be returned is when a customer changes bank accounts or address and fails to provide new delivery instructions.

    Series E bonds sold from May of 1941 through November of 1965 earn interest for 40 years. Bonds sold since December of 1965 earn interest for 30 years. So, bonds issued in February of 1961 and earlier have stopped earning interest as have bonds issued between December of 1965 and February of 1971.

    Savings bonds become undeliverable and are sent to the U.S. Bureau of the Public Debt only after financial institution issuing agents or the Federal Reserve make several attempts at delivering the bonds to investors. Bonds returned as undeliverable are a tiny fraction of the 45 million bonds sold each year.

    The Bureau of the Public Debt has a number of employees assigned to a special locator group that finds owners of undeliverable payments and bonds.

    Each year they locate and deliver several millions of dollars in returned interest payments and thousands of previously undeliverable bonds to their owners. Treasury Hunt adds to the effectiveness, not to mention the fun, of this effort by making it easy for the public to check and see if they've got a bond or interest payment waiting for them.