Locals owed thousands of dollars

BUNDABERG residents have lost nearly $80,000 — but it didn't go down the drain on the pokies, or a bad investment.

The money is sitting unused in bank accounts and investment funds, after its owners apparently lost track of their finances.

According to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), 26 individuals and companies have amounts ranging from $5.75 to $22,959.57 left unclaimed in old accounts and insurance policies.

One resident of Kepnock Road, Kepnock, has a windfall of more than $6000 waiting for him, while residents of Bargara and Bundaberg Port are also owed several thousand dollars.

Owners of the missing money have also been tracked down to Moore Park Beach, Elliott Heads, Gooburrum and several other Bundaberg suburbs.

Delia Rickard, ASIC's senior executive leader for financial literacy, consumers, advisers and retail investors, said it could be difficult to keep track of every cent.

“If you've changed addresses frequently, had a number of bank accounts, life insurance policies or different share holdings, there might be money waiting to be claimed by you,” Ms Rickard said.

She said some people may not even realise there was money belonging to them, if it was left in the will of a relative or friend.

“Searching for the lost money is quick and easy and you could soon find money that you had long forgotten about,” she said.

But ASIC warns to be wary of businesses who claim they will help un-earth mislaid funds.

“You may receive a letter from a company offering to help you claim your lost money — these companies will charge a fee for this service,” Ms Rickard said.

Instead, she suggested people who were feeling lucky should try searching through ASIC's unclaimed money database for free.

“If you do find some money that you think might be yours you will need to prove the money belongs to you or that you are the beneficiary of the money,” she said.

To search for lost money, log into ASIC's free online database at www.fido.gov.au/unclaimedmoney and type in your name.

Call 1300 300 630 or email infoline@asic.gov.au for assistance.

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