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Pays To Be The TSA

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Take off your shoes and empty your pockets.  Doesn’t seem like you have much to lose and yet the amount of money we leave behind at airport security checkpoints is incredible and keeps rising. Travelers left more than $500,000 — almost all of it in loose change — at airport checkpoints last year, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

Miami International Airport, McCarran International in Las Vegas and O’ Hare International Airport in Chicago collected the largest amounts — at least $22,000 each.

Travel experts say people leave money behind for a variety of reasons. They might be rushing through a checkpoint or heading to a country where they may have little use for U.S. currency.

The TSA collected $1.43 million in loose change in fiscal years 2010, 2011 and 2012. Here are the three airports that collected the largest amounts:

  • New York (JFK): $112,384
  • Miami: $79,819
  • Los Angeles: $74,528

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