Hugh McQuaid Photo

State Treasurer Denise Nappier launched the biennial “Big List” campaign Thursday by encouraging Connecticut residents to check if they are among the nearly 1.2 million people whose unclaimed money is being held by the state.

The Treasurer’s Office publishes every two years a list of residents whose property the office is safeguarding. The money assets could include uncashed paychecks, forgotten bank accounts, unclaimed deposits, as well as insurance proceeds, stocks, and liquidated assets from safe deposit boxes.

The list, which is searchable at online at www.CTBigList.com, includes the assets of 1.16 million people totaling as much as $627 million. An abbreviated list with 54,000 names was published as an insert in state newspapers Thursday. The insert cost the state $218,800 to print and distribute and was included in daily newspapers throughout the state.

“I like to say this is sort of like a free lottery, if you will. It’s very easy to scan the database on the treasury’s website, to look at the ‘Big List’ publication that was released today to see if your name was on there, a member of your family, a neighbor or a friend,” Nappier said at a press conference in her Hartford office.

The majority of the assets included on the list range from $50-$500 in value. However, hundreds of thousands residents have unclaimed assets totaling more than that. According to Nappier’s office, the assets of 65 people on the list are greater than $200,000.

During the press conference, Carol Leavitt, a resident of New Haven County, said that within the past month the Treasurer’s Office helped her reclaim funds that she and her husband had forgotten in a safe deposit box. She said the state paperwork was simple and quick.

Hugh McQuaid Photo

“I filled it out and I got my money back. I guess the story is, don’t give up. If you think you have money some place — a bank or wherever — you need to call the state,” she said. “. . . This allows me to complete my kitchen renovation, which I’ve been working on slowly . . . and also helps us put aside funds for our children.”

Residents who find their names on the list can download a claim form on the Big List website or call 1-800-833-7318 on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. There is no deadline to claim property with the Treasurer’s Office.

Nappier said her office has returned more than $421 million to individuals and businesses since she took office in 1999. She said $150.4 million has been returned during the two-year period which ended June 30.

“That’s more than in any year of the program’s 70-plus year history,” she said.