Forgotten Fortunes

Reporter: David Eccleston

Have you always dreamt of winning big - one of the many millions who line up hoping to cash in, odds are you could be in line for a real jackpot.

Your share in the forgotten fortune - $610 million.

"It takes a minute to do this less time to stand in line at the newsagency and buy a scratchy or a lotto ticket and the odds are winning are much better and you're certainly going to win a lot more than two dollars if you do" says Delia Ricard.

This is not about unclaimed lottery winnings or superannuation, rather money left in abandoned bank accounts, life insurance and shares. Despite the public awareness campaign ASIC has waged over the last 2 years, it seems we never learn with the pool of unclaimed funds now at a record level. Delia Ricard and the team from Asic's Fido, handed back $57 million last year to people smart enough to check the website.

"What you have to do is go to Asics consumer website www.fido.gov.au, and type in your name or if you're a beneficiary under a will type in the person that has died - grandma's name or whatever and hopefully it will tell you that you own some of that money" explains Delia.

Are you the lucky person in the city of Melbourne with an ANZ bank account chest worth $481,199 - or is your family so cashed-up in Doncaster that you wouldn't miss a windfall of $271,057.

In Sydney's Matraville, someone has let slip a small fortune more than $642,000.

"In Dolans Bay somebody has a bit over $700,000 waiting to be claimed, it's from a St George Bank account so if you're a St George client live in Dolans Bay or you'd be crazy if you didn't go and look."

Beautiful one day- wealthy the next if you live in Bohle Queensland - over half a million dollars left in an abandoned bank account - while in the city of Adelaide ask around, you might have claim of $170,000 worth of forgotten shares.

Financial Expert Peter Switzer from the Switzer Report says "I think two things people don't know that there's money and a way to find it we learnt that with super as well… and secondly people are really disorganised it's the disorganised persons world that is really losing money all the time."

"The biggest amount we have there at the moment is in Carlisle Western Australia from a Commonwealth Bank account and it's over $900,000 - the average money is $700 but it's still a lot of money waiting to be claimed" adds Delia.

And if a million dollar cheque doesn't get you motivated maybe this will- ASIC holds the money in a trust fund for 7 years, then the government profit from the interest made with the forgotten money pit.

"I would use this Fido website as an opportunity to see whether there is some money there and probably it won't be there but it might encourage and it might encourage you to look into the lost super accounts and start thinking about getting yore life into order chaos costs us money. The people who do the right things always end up wealthier than the chaotic person" advises Peter Switzer.

For more information visit Asics consumer website: www.fido.gov.au