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DENVER — Ever dig into your pants pocket and pull out a few bucks you forgot about? For many it puts a smile on their face, but what if it is much more?

Some are getting letters in the mail from a company called Joseph Richards and Associates out of Bakersfield, California claiming you are owed a refund. All you have to do to get your lost money is to fill out a claim, send it in and once you are paid send them a cut of 20 percent.

It seemed too good to be true for FOX31 Denver Reporter Jon Bowmen, so he brought the letters to the station’s investigative unit.

At first it seemed like a good buyer beware story, but after doing some digging around we found out Bowmen was actually owed more than $3,400 dollars.

Joseph Richards and Associates is a third party service that searches websites like to see who has unclaimed cash. They will then send letters to those people and for helping you out they collect a 20 percent fee.

But you can bypass their services and search for free and get your money back for free.

In Colorado, you can go to the Great Colorado Payback site and search for any unclaimed cash. The Colorado State Treasurer runs the site and tells us he has more than $200 million worth of stuff people have forgotten about locked away in a vault.

For example: if you have lost track of a bank account, stock certificate, or a retirement account; misplaced a rebate check, reimbursement or paycheck from a business; or moved prior to receiving your Colorado state tax rebate, the bank, business or state agency is required by law to file a report and forward those assets to the Unclaimed Property office of the Colorado State Treasurer.

If you’ve lived in a different state you will also want to check out It will allow you to search other states and again it is a free service.