Dollar daze forgotten millions to be claimed

THE Coffs Coast could be home to 'forgotten' millionaires, with new government figures showing more than $250 million in unclaimed money is waiting to be found.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is renewing its call for the owners of almost $500 million in unclaimed money to stake their claim.

New South Wales has $255 million in unclaimed money, the highest figure across Australia.

ASIC senior executive leader Delia Rickard said the Commission has successfully returned more than $36 million to its rightful owners in the past six months and another $151 million has been added to the records.

“Money owned to individuals and businesses ranges from $1 to millions, with the largest unclaimed amount $3 million,” Ms Rickhard said.

“Last year's awareness campaign resulted in one man being united with more than $742,000.

“Unfortunately, most people haven't checked to find out if they too have unclaimed money.”

Ms Rickard said the money has been provided to ASIC by banks, life insurance companies, credit unions and companies who have been the subject of a takeover in 2007, as well as unclaimed money from shareholdings where the company has been unable to contact a shareholder, old bank accounts and forgotten insurance policies.

The unclaimed money held on trust by ASIC generally comprises accounts that have lain dormant for seven years.

Ms Rickard said ASIC staff will conduct a comprehensive search for forgotten funds if contacted.

“Some consumers may have received a letter advising them that a particular company has located their lost money, and these companies will offer to reunite you with your funds but will charge a fee or commission for this service,” she said.

“Searching via ASIC is free and there's no cost involved in claiming your lost money - the only thing you need to do is provide proof that you are the owner or beneficiary.”

Ms Rickard said some information is unable to be published online for privacy reasons.

To find your forgotten fortune, contact ASIC on 1300 300 360, email to

infoline@asic.gov.au or go to www.fido.gov.au

• ARE you a forgotten millionaire? If you contact ASIC and find you have unclaimed money, let us know at editorial@coffscoastadvocate.com.au.

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