Recovering stolen Savings Bonds

Tuesday, February 14th, 2006
Categorized as: Lost or stolen US Savings Bonds

If a Savings Bond is taken without your knowledge and cashed in by someone who is neither the owner nor co-owner of the bond, what happens to them and to the bank that cashed the bond?

Tom’s response

When this happens, you should contact the Treasury here and they will guide you through a case-by-case process they have for this situation.

If the process discovers that your bond was indeed stolen and redeemed by someone else, the bank will have to cover the lost funds. They will send the money to the Treasury who will reissue the bond to you.

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On March 26th, 2007 Stephanie said:

Tom thank you for having this site I do not know what to do ..My sons Savings bond was stolen from our apartment and I dont know how I am supposed to get it back, Please help me Stephanie ~

On March 26th, 2007 Tom Adams said:

Stephanie – What you need to do is click on the link in the main article on this page. The text of the link says contact the Treasury here. A form will appear that will allow you to send an email to the Savings Bond representatives at the US Treasury. Tell them the bonds have been stolen and they will help you get the bonds replaced.

Tom Adams

On May 31st, 2007 joan stoneback said:

Hey Tom,

There are a few savings bonds that were purchased to my name when I was younger. I am over the legal age to redeem them, however, my father is witholding them from me. What should I do?

On June 1st, 2007 Tom Adams said:

Hi Joan – Possession of the paper bonds is legally meaningless. All that matters is who the bond is registered to. Use the link above to explain your situation to the Treasury and they’ll advise you on how to proceed.

Tom Adams

On July 12th, 2007 Krissy said:

My fiance attempted to cash bonds at citibank on wall street. He endorsed them and then the bank manager cashed them and claimed to have never seen him. The bank looked over all of the evidence and realized the bonds indeed had been cashed by the bank manager. They agreed to send the hefty sum of money to the treasury and have them replace the bonds. However, we are now being told by one of our lawyers that we may have to let the new bonds mature. The old bonds had already matured for a total of 6 years. Do we really have to wait another whole year?

On July 12th, 2007 Tom Adams said:

Krissy – Typically when the Treasury “replaces” bonds, it replaces them with the original issue date. If that’s the case here, you’ll be able to cash them right away.

If Citibank buys you new bonds, on the other hand, then, yes, it will take a year before you can cash them.

But why would Citibank do that? I don’t even get why are they replacing the bonds rather than just giving you the money. This one smells pretty fishy to me….

Tom Adams

On July 23rd, 2008 Sally said:

My aunt, the executer of my grandfathers will, has been keeping for the last twelve years bonds that belong to my cousins and me. We found out she had used them as collateral to a bondsman to bail out an uncle. She has given all of the grandchildren their bonds, except for me. I believe they are still with the bondsman because she says she still owes him $1600, the exact amount the bonds are. What can I do about this?

On July 23rd, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Sally – The bondsman is in for a big surprise. Savings Bonds can’t be used as collateral for a loan.

Scroll up this page and use the “contract the Treasury” link in the main article above and explain your situation.

If your aunt’s name isn’t on the bonds, then you can call them stolen and have them replaced. The Treasury will want all of the information you’ve given me, and probably more.

Tom Adams

On July 24th, 2008 SABRENA JOHNSON said:


On July 25th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Sabrina – you’re on the wrong page. The information you’re looking for is here.

Tom Adams

On August 3rd, 2008 johnny beckwith said:

hi, my name is johnny lee beckwith, and my biological father may have had some savings bonds. i am not sure. if he did, his sister may have stolen them when he dide in 2004.i am his legal aire, i am his son. can you tell me how to find them? his name was john l. weatherford.

thank you.

On August 4th, 2008 Tom Adams said:

Johnny – leaving a comment here will not solve your problem. Scroll up and click where it says “Ask the Treasury” and ask the Treasury.

Tom Adams

On January 14th, 2009 MINA WHITE said:

I was given several savings bonds from friends and family throughout the years, I recently lost all the paperwork in Hurricane Katrina. I wanted to try to locate the bonds, but I have no way of getting in touch with all the people who bought them for me, nor do I have the SSN’s. How can I get the bonds?

On January 15th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Mina – the information you’re looking for is here.

Tom Adams

On March 20th, 2009 stevan Knight said:

My deceased father had lots of savings bonds which were stolen by my brother and cashed. My Mom is still alive with alzhiemers disease. I am presumed caretaker for her. She has been deemed incompetant by the courts and my other brother is guardian with fiduciary responsibility. He is uncooperative and neglectful. I have the pDF forms necessary to file for replacement of stolen bonds. Is it lawful for ME to file? My mother is about to lose her home due to mismanagement of her estate and taxes in arrears. This money will bail her out. Do I need a layer or can I file on behalf of my mother?

On March 23rd, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Stevan – if your brother is your mother’s legal fiduciary then it will be pretty hard to get anyone to take your claim that he stole the bonds seriously. I don’t see any alternative for you other than going to a lawyer and seeking to solve the problem in court.

Tom Adams

On April 21st, 2009 Kathleen Welsh said:

For my mom’s estate, the co-executors took possession of 40 Series E savings bonds back in 2001 (and I have documentation to support that). At least some of them are dated back (i.e., purchased) in the 1960s. However, they never credited them to her account nor are they shown on any Accounting or Inventory. Unfortunately, I do not have have the bond numbers and they have effectively said “sorry, we can’t locate them and cannot provide you a check based on an estimate of their worth”.

I have contacted the treasury dept and they are still looking. They are NOT on the unredeemed savings bonds site.

My question to you is: What is their responsiblity for these “misplaced assets”.

Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

On April 27th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Kathleen – this question seems to concern Savings Bonds, but it’s really about the legal obligations of executors in your state, which is a subject on which I have no expertise at all.

I can tell you that if the bonds have been cashed, the Treasury needs the serial numbers on the bonds to “find” them.

You need to contact a lawyer to get the advice you’re looking for.

Tom Adams

On August 8th, 2009 brenda said:

my uncle purchased bonds for my daughter each christmas – i believe they were in my mothers name, my mother has passed away and i am told that my sister stole them and cashed them, how do i go about finding out if this is true. i do not have the serial number, nor the “exact” dates but i do know they were $100.00 bonds and i believe they had both my mothers name on them and my daughter’s name on them. please advise me on what to do here. thank you most kindly

On August 10th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Brenda – If the bonds were in your mother’s name, then legally they belonged to your mother, not your daughter. When your mother died, they became a part of her estate. Did she have a will? Was her estate handled by a probate court?

Your sister wouldn’t have been able to cash the bonds unless her name was on them, so the story you heard is unlikely to be the truth.

If your mother didn’t have a will, then the Treasury will award the bonds to her heirs. If she had a living husband, that would be a stronger claim than her children’s (you, your sister, and any other siblings).

In any case, the place to start is by contacting the Treasury at the link in the main article above. You won’t get very far until you know where the paper bonds are or you know that they’re lost.

Tom Adams

On August 12th, 2009 Robynn said:

My aunt had her list of savings bonds stolen along with her ID and social security card. She is concerned that with these documents, someone may try to have the bonds re-issued in order to cash them. She has possession of the original bonds in a safe deposit box. Is there any precautions she should take? Thanks for any help you can offer.

On August 12th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Robynn – I don’t know of any precautions she can take. If the bonds were fraudulently declared as lost, replaced, then cashed, she would in theory be able to recover the bonds, but it would be quite a hassle. The Treasury may have a better answer to this question (see the link to Ask the Treasury above and to the right). If they do, please let us know.

Tom Adams

On August 12th, 2009 sabrina said:

My fathers savings bonds were stolen and cashed back in 1987 it has been over 10 yrs ago. When we called the treasury to try to recoup the stolen bonds they told us that they were destroyed since they were cashed. I was under the impression that the bonds could never be lost or stolen. Do you have any further recommendations on what he should do next to try to recoup these forged stolen bonds?

On August 13th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Sabrina – 1987 was 22 years ago. The Treasury will replace a Savings Bond that you can show was stolen and fraudulently cashed.

Unless you have evidence that you haven’t mentioned, your problem is that you have no way to show the bonds were stolen. Do you have a police report or something?

Tom Adams

On December 11th, 2009 Brian said:

The circumstances; For 9yrs my deceased father had $50 bonds payroll deducted every other month. They were issued under his SS# and both our names. Times are tight since the layoff, so I got out a lockbox which contained the latter 2yrs of bonds and a list of the #’s of the rest, which were in his possession. I vaguely recall cashing in an unknown number of the earliest ones to cover expenses during my divorce. His widow (+ estate executor) claims no awareness of the remainder. From what I gather in your previous postings, because I am a surviving co-owner the bonds automatically became totally mine and could not have become part of his estate without my consent. My question is – When I request a treasury inquiry as to how many are still active, do I still need a death cert because they’re under his SS even though my name is on them as co-owner? If so, how is one most easily obtained? Will the results list which SS# was used in the redemptions? his/hers/mine? Thanks for all your helpful info, in past and future responses.

On December 11th, 2009 Tom Adams said:

Brian – if you are a co-owner (OR between your names as written on the bond, not POD) then you do not need a death certificate. The bonds are yours.

Since you apparently have the serial numbers on all the bonds, you can ask which ones have been cashed following this process. It will not tell you who cashed the bonds.

You can also ask if your father bought any bonds that aren’t on the list you have by following this process.

If the actual bonds don’t turn up and you need to have them replaced, you can do that by following this process.

Tom Adams

On April 23rd, 2010 Chad said:

Me and my brother received several bonds from my grand father in the amount of $50,000. He has passed away no but my aunt wich is a lawyer sent the bonds to my dad to give to me and my brother, This was in may of 2008 my dad takes the bonds to several banks tryin to cash them without us knowing and could not so his secretary knew someone at this local bank that cashed them,The bonds say my full name with ss# or my grand father name and ss#, but grand father whom is 90 was forced to go to the bank had no valid ID nor an acct. at this bank so they had to cash them under my ss# and name now I am getting taxed by the IRS for the full amount. What should I do , Please help I really need this money…. Thanks

On April 26th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Chad – This smells a lot like fraud, although since your grandfather was present when the bonds were cashed you may not have a case. It also depends on how old you are. You might want to see a lawyer.

In any case, there doesn’t seem to be any reason for you to pay the taxes. See the section on nominee distribution here.

Tom Adams

On May 5th, 2010 Roger B. said:

Dear Tom, I once had a condo when I was single. I received 6 savings bonds @ $50 eash from Diners Club as a reward around 1995 with my name on them. Around 1999 they were stolen from me but I don’t know whether or not they have been cashed. Back then I tried calling Kansas City but got the “run around”. Please lead me to a better phone # so I can plead my case again or website…greatfully appreciated “Roger B>

On May 5th, 2010 Tom Adams said:

Roger – Follow the instructions at the top of this page. There’s no phone number you can call.

Tom Adams

Comments Closed

June 1, 2010

After six years, over 400 posts, 3,680 real comments, and over 90,000 spam comments (thank you, Akismet, for making managing a blog with comments possible), I am closing public comments on I will contine to update the main articles on this site, but not the comments.

Virtually every question about Savings Bonds has been asked and answered on this site multiple times. Use the search feature (see the box in the gray area near the top of this page) or the detailed menu on the lower part of the home page to find the information you're looking for. If you have a copy of Savings Bond Advisor, you can ask me a question here.

Tom Adams

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