Missing Millions

Reporter: Jonathan Creek

There is unclaimed money worth equal, if not more than the economies of several third world countries, sitting unclaimed in the Australian Federal Government's consolidated revenue fund. Money that could be yours and you don't even know it and with Christmas just around the corner what better time to claim it.

Ever dreamt of what you might do with a few extra dollars, maybe hundreds, even thousands, dream no more, there's a chance that money is hidden away with your name....already on it. "Anyone can have money you just look yourself up on the internet you look it up on this fido site it's there its yours its sitting there and you can come out with a bit of money its good." When Joseph Bellbin's father died ten years ago the last thing on his mind was money. But a random search of his name on the internet revealed a very nice pre-Christmas surprise. "I looked my name up at google and I got back about $11,000." And if you listen to the experts there are half a million others out there just like Joseph. Yet to claim their cash because often they don't even know it was there to begin with.

Sue MacBeth is a money hunter, who links millions of dollars of unclaimed inheritance to long lost relatives."An average beneficiary would be in the tens of thousands rather than the millions." Each year Sue allocates close to $30 million to un-suspecting people, the money often from unknown relatives who died without a will. Even more staggering according to Sue, is the remaining unclaimed monies left sitting in government coffers, if you combine unclaimed super with the forgotten dollars from old bank accounts, share portfolios and business deals.

In an attempt to clear as much of the unclaimed millions as possible the Australian Securities and Investment Commission has launched a free of charge search through it's website, fido.gov.au, and if computers aren't your thing they have investigators waiting by the phone to help thousands of people dig up lost fortunes.

Note the search doesn't include lost super. ASIC's Delia Rickard says the amounts vary from $1 up to $3 million, and that to search has never been easier or more wide ranging. You could be a millionaire. To find out whether you are owed money is one thing. How you spend it is another but Joseph it seems has made the right decisions there. "Its basically gone into the mortgage and some for a baby coming in December so its all gone now."

Australian Securities and Investment Commission

Website: fido.gov.au

Tel: 1300 300 630

ASIC

Email: infoline@asic.gov.au