by Sid Kirchheimer, AARP Bulletin, June 11, 2010
Q. How can I recover a lost U.S. Savings Bond?
A. Perhaps when your teenage son was born, an uncle gave a $100 bond as a gift toward the future. Or maybe you bought a bond years ago to diversify the family’s own nest egg. But where was it that you stashed the thing?
One of the nifty features of savings bonds is that you can replace them if they go missing. Step one is to download a copy of a form called Claim for Lost, Stolen or Destroyed United States Savings Bonds or have one sent to you the old-fashioned way by calling 304-480-7711.
List on the form as many details as you can about your late lamented sliver of the U.S. national debt. You can visit a special U.S. Treasury Department online database, enter your Social Security number and see if it has any specifics about your bond.
Take the form to your bank or credit union and ask an officer there to certify that the information is valid. You’ll be asked to sign the form in the presence of the officer, who’ll apply a special seal. Then mail it to the appropriate address listed on the form. Additional details are available at TreasuryDirect.gov.
If you have the serial number, a reissued bond can come within a few weeks; without one, it can take months. So, to avoid future headaches, keep an inventory of all your family’s bonds in a safe place, with serial numbers.
Sid Kirchheimer is the author of Scam-Proof Your Life (AARP Books/Sterling).
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