$3.4m in ‘lost’ cash awaits

NEARLY $3.5 million is lying unclaimed by North East Victorian and southern Riverina residents, with one person owed $75,049.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission is launching a national campaign today to encourage people to come forward and collect the money which is tied to investments such as life insurance and bank accounts.

In the Hume region of Victoria there are 4087 individuals owed $1,839,552, while in NSW’s Murray region there are 4076 people linked to $1,636,477.

ASIC was unable to say how much in total was outstanding from each place across Hume and Murray, but it did release figures showing the highest individual unclaimed tally in various centres.

Wangaratta took top place with $75,049, while the biggest unclaimed amount in Wodonga was $37,255 and in Albury it was $22,039.

Beechworth’s highest amount was $16,760, Myrtleford’s $15,204 and Lavington’s $14,113.

Other North East and Border towns had amounts below $10,000, ranging from Tallangatta ($1551) to Corowa ($7732).

Across Australia the amount of unclaimed money has risen by $40 million over the past year to reach a record $677 million.

ASIC commissioner Peter Kell said $56 million had been claimed last year and is urging those who think they are owed money to track it through his organisation’s MoneySmart website.

Users type in their name to see whether they are in line for money.

“You might not know it yet, but you could have thousands of dollars sitting in an old bank account, shares, or a life insurance policy,” Mr Kell said.

“Until you look, you’ll never know.”

The reasons you may be unaware of the unclaimed money include moving without leaving a forwarding address; not making a transaction on your cheque or savings account for more than seven years; having stopped payments on a life insurance policy; realising regular dividend or interest cheques have stopped coming; or being executor of a deceased estate.