50,000 drivers need to claim money from idle I-Pass accounts

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Some 50,000 motorists with a total of $2.2 million in idle I-Pass accounts need to contact the Illinois Tollway by Oct. 1 or their balances will be transferred to the state’s unclaimed property program, officials warned Thursday.

Within the next several weeks, customers whose accounts have been inactive for at least seven years and total at least $10 will receive letters from the Illinois Tollway about the Oct. 1 deadline, Tollway officials said.

Such customers will be asked to either reactivate their accounts or close them to get a refund.

Those who take no action by Oct. 1 will have their accounts closed and balances folded into the state’s unclaimed property — held by the Illinois State Treasurer’s I-Cash Program. Money can be held there for generations and still be claimed by its owner or heirs.

To keep their inactive I-Pass accounts open, customers should call the Tollway at 1-800-UC-IPASS Monday through Friday, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., or Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Or they can visit a Tollway customer service center; those are located in the Tollway’s Downers Grove headquarters and its six oases.

To close their accounts, customers have two options:

— Wrap their transponders in aluminum foil; write a letter listing their name and address and requesting that their account be closed; and mail both together to the I-Pass Fulfillment Center, P.O. Box 806518, Chicago IL 60680. If the transponder is returned in good condition, the customer’s deposit and any unused balances will be returned within 45 days.

— Bring their I-Pass transponder to one of the Tollway’s customer service centers, along with identification to verify they are the account holder or a guardian, trustee or conservator of the account holder.

“This is an opportunity for our customers to reclaim account balances and deposits they may have forgotten, as well as allow us to clear our books of old I-Pass accounts that are no longer in use,’’ Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur said in a news release.

“And if they miss this opportunity, they will still be able to reclaim these funds through the state’s I-Cash Program.’’ For more information on that program, go to www.icash.illinois.gov.

The average I-Pass account balance of those receiving letters is $31 without the initial I-Pass deposit, officials said. Those who return their transponders in good condition could get back, on average, $45.

However, about 500 account holders have at least $100 sitting in unclaimed balances, officials said. The biggest account totals just over $1,485.

Of the $2.2 million in unclaimed funds, about $1.5 million is in prepaid tolls and $700,000 is for transponder deposits that will be refunded if the old transponders are returned, Tollway officials said.

For locations and hours of Tollway customer service centers, go to www.illinoistollway.com.

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