This section provides assistance in tracing unclaimed money. Library users may be contacted by agents who read through government lists of unclaimed money, and then contact the owners of the money offering to help them claim the money in return for a fee. For the Commonwealth and most of the states and territories, the online resources for tracing unclaimed money are so good that there should be no need to use these agents.
Unclaimed money which is the responsibility of the Commonwealth government comes from three main sources:
A related area is that of lost contributons to superannuation schemes.
(See Government publications manual 2005 - unclaimed money (on the Intranet) for information about unclaimed money administered by the states and territories).
The three sources of unclaimed money are all the responsibility of the Australian Securities and investments Commission (ASIC). ASIC’s consumer website FIDO has a simple search facility which can be used to search for all such unclaimed money by name.
Lists of unclaimed money are also published in ASIC gazettes. There is one gazette each year wholly devoted to banking (including building societies and credit unions) unclaimed monies (now usually published in July), one devoted to life insurance unclaimed money (now usually published in June) and several each year devoted to unclaimed consideration for compulsory acquisition.
The information in these gazettes is included in the FIDO database so there should be no need to look at the individual gazettes. Their publication, however, is likely to generate a stream of letters from agents to possible owners of money and thus a consequent stream of people to the SLV trying to track down the amounts without paying out good money to agents. If users do need to look at the gazettes themselves, they are only available online.
Lost members of superannuation funds are the responsibility of the Australian Taxation Office. Access to information on how one becomes a lost member and how to find out if one is a lost member can be found online.
In the past various Commonwealth government departments and authorities were responsible for unclaimed money:
Until 1999, unused bank accounts were the responsibility of the Department of the Treasury. From 1990 to 1999, Treasury published annually Do we have any of your money? This contained lists of unused bank accounts reported in the previous year. Before 1990, this list was published as a periodic issue of the Commonwealth of Australia gazette. If the unused bank account dates from 1989 or later it should be listed on the FIDO database so there should be no need to use the printed publications for any bank accounts since then. Details of unused building society and credit union accounts are available on FIDO from 1992. Before then they were a state government responsibility.
Life insurance policies were the responsibility of the Insurance and Superannuation Commission until 1998 when it became part of ASIC. The Insurance and Superannuation Commission published annually Life insurance unclaimed money for 1995 to 1999. Before then, unclaimed life insurance moneys with life insurance companies were listed in an annual Commonwealth of Australia gazette. All unclaimed money from life insurance companies from 1988 on and from friendly societies from 2000 on is included on the FIDO database so there should be no need to use the printed publications after those dates.
Unclaimed money from shares is listed on the FIDO database from 1991 onwards. Before then this was the responsibility of the states and territories.