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Redditor Berated By FIL For ‘Invading’ His Privacy By Locating Money The Government Owes Him

Person holding out money
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Have you ever encountered something so wonderful that you felt the need to spread the word?

Maybe you even knew someone else who would greatly benefit from your newfound knowledge.

But have you ever had anyone berate you for telling them that with the click of a mouse they can retrieve funds owed to them?

Probably not… but a person on Reddit has, and it has them wondering if they were in the wrong for bringing up the topic at all.

So, they turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit to seek feedback from fellow Redditors after their father-in-law accused them of “invading” his privacy for telling him he has unclaimed funds held by the state.

Redditor asked:

“AITA for telling my in-laws that I found money the government owes them?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I recently read an article about unclaimed funds held by the state (usually uncashed checks, forgotten investments, etc.) and decided to search my name on my state’s comptroller website.”

“I found a couple of checks in my husband’s name and when he claimed them, our state mailed him a check for $400.”

“We were so excited, we told a lot of people about this program.”

“I didn’t find anything in my name, but under my surname, about a dozen or so checks came up in my father-in-law’s name, so I texted to let him and my mother-in-law know what happened with us and how easy it was to claim the money.”

“EDIT: I did NOT go looking for my in-laws info. I typed in MY name and that’s what came up.”

The father-in-law wasn’t nearly excited as OP.

“FIL sent my husband (32/M[ale]) a series of angry texts accusing us of violating his boundaries and stirring up trouble.”

And there’s a bit of history.

“Right before the pandemic, my husband got into a huge fight with his mother over boundary issues that led to us being estranged from MIL and FIL for two years.”

“MIL and FIL were very controlling and tended to infantilize my husband, which significantly impacted his mental health and confidence in himself.”

“We tried to reconcile and apologized, while asking for an apology and changed behavior.”

“They were not interested and were ultimately uninvited from our wedding as a result.”

But things started to look up.

“In late 2022, MIL and FIL seemed interested in respecting my husband as a grown adult, and we slowly started talking and getting together for dinner once every 1-2 months again.”

“FIL seems to be respectful except when I trigger him.”

“At one dinner I asked ‘how’s everything going with you?’ and he told me I wasn’t allowed to ask him that.”

“MIL recently offered us FIL’s recently deceased mother’s home, which we couldn’t accept for a few reasons (it’s a no dog building and we have two dogs, for starters).”

“When we later asked if they had decided what to do with the apartment, FIL berated us for invading his privacy. (I wouldn’t have asked if they hadn’t brought us into it, but whatever.)”

OP didn’t think bringing up the unclaimed property was that big of a deal.

“With the missing money, I guess I just thought of it as equivalent to saying ‘hey, you dropped your wallet.'”

But apparently it was.

“FIL seems very resentful of the estrangement and doesn’t seem to understand why his boundaries feel less like actual boundaries and more like a revenge tactic.”


Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided the OP was not the a**hole.


“1) you came across is innocently and 2) you can’t invade someone’s privacy by accessing publicly available information.”

“It’s clearly not even worth trying to explain how you came across it to him because this is no a reasonable man.”

“It’s sad, but I would leave communications with him to your husband as he clearly has a chip on his shoulder when it comes to you.” – CyberHeaux

“NTA for raising it.”

“It’s not like you were specifically searching them up.”

“But at the same time, it sounds like you’re surprised poking a nest of angry hornets didn’t end well.”

“Limit your contact with FIL.” – 0biterdicta


“Anytime those lists come out, people scour them for the names of people they know and alert them.”

“If your fil chooses to take offense, that’s on him.”

“Maybe it’s time to go limited contact with them again.”

“Hugs and Good Luck” – QuinGood

“NTA – You were trying to help out, not embarrass them, they way overreacted.”

“They probably will never change at this late stage of their lives.”

“So I would just write them off for the future as they seem set upon to want to be NC.”

“So let them be and move on with the people in your life that actually respect and want to be around you and you them.”

“It’s sad, but their choice.” – Mustng1966

“NTA but given your history I don’t think you should have been surprised.”

“Someone who things ‘how’s it going?’ is an invasive question would have a panic attack over this.” – Caramel9941

“This is actually good.”

“You can model for him what being told you’ve over-stepped boundaries looks like.”

“‘Oh FIL, I’m so sorry. I didn’t realise that would be a boundary for you. My intention was to be helpful, but now that you’ve told me it’s a boundary for you I will absolutely respect it, and I will be careful to not do that again. I truly apologize.'”

“(The undertone here is – see that’s how you respond to someone communicating boundaries you don’t agree with or understand)”

“NTA” – HappySummerBreeze

“Some people just seem predisposed to assume offense without need. Their loss.”

“Perhaps some day they’ll find themselves in enough need to be grateful for the money.”

“Perhaps they’ll never claim it, it’ll be available to their estate, and your husband might inherit it.”

“NTA” – latents

“Let me get this straight, you are trying to tell him that he has money coming back to him, and he wants to take it as you are ‘stirring up trouble?'”

“How much trouble can it be to say ‘thank you?'”

“Definitely NTA.” – Parasamgate

“NTA. When I searched my name on my states site, everyone with my last name was listed.”

“I have a pretty unique last name, basically I’m related to anyone who has it.”

“So I took screenshots & sent them to everyone: cousins, dad, aunts, & uncles.”

“My uncle had a couple of thousand from something & he was so grateful, he sent me a check for a couple hundred dollars, saying he wouldn’t have had it if I hadn’t told him.”

“Your in-laws are AH’s” – Jao_99

“I love this post because I didn’t know this was a thing and I found two unclaimed things for myself lol”

“but also, NTA” – ang_hell_ic


“Wait for in laws to die, have your husband collect funds as next of kin.” – Acceptable_Horse_440


“Your search seems publicly available.”

“FIL should be grateful getting some money back, instead he can’t tell the difference between casual conversation and breaking boundaries.” – hellcoach

“NTA, but leave it.”

“Don’t try to do any nice things for him.”

“He seems like a giant toddler with a personality disorder.” – Intrepid_Respond_543

“NTA – and also thank you for reminding me because I hadn’t checked in a while and it turns out the NYT owed me money.”

“There are 250 people with unclaimed funds with my surname right now and while they show me first it shows everyone with my surname after.”

“I always let my siblings or parents know when I search if one of their names pops up too.” – Trick_Recognition591

“NTA. FIL sorta is.”

“You’d have thought that they would be happy to find they might have some unclaimed money.”

“Curious if FIL may be in the early (or later) stages of Alzheimers/dementia.”

“Folks often are in denial and/or get very defensive when that happens, and it is often incredibly hard to get them to appreciate that you are trying to be helpful.”

“A few years of estrangement would only add to that.” – HealthNo4265

“NTA. It might be the petty in me, but I suspect your FIL knows his so-called boundaries are a revenge tactic.” – Pschulman

“NTA. He doesn’t understand the concept of boundaries and is just being belligerent.”

“I would just stop talking to them altogether.”

“If you have to spend time with them, maybe submit questions in writing ahead of time to get approval.”

“When you run out of approved questions, just stay mum, and when they ask why you are not talking, tell them you are afraid of setting the old man off.” – Effective_Olive_8420

“NTA-I check the unclaimed property all the time, and I tell my family members if their names show up.”

“I don’t get berated, I get thanked for it.”

“Guess your FIL doesn’t understand the concept of public information.”

“I even remind family members to pay their personal property taxes if they show unpaid when I do mine last minute.”

“I think your FIL’s head would explode if he were related to me.” – litza5472

In this case, it sounds like OP’s good deed is not appreciated in the least and they should refrain from even attempting to extend acts of kindness to their in-laws in the future.

In-laws’ loss, for sure.

Written by AB Keith

AB Keith is an educator turned roadtripper who is currently teaching virtually while touring the USA. Her dream is to visit all the national parks and create a series of nonfiction children's books about NP adventures through the eyes of her dog, Backpack Benny.