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Aussies urged to claim $1.5 billion in lost money: ‘Thought it was a scam’

Some Aussies thought the invitation to claim lost money was a scam.

A composite image of TikToker Suggamammatv and Australian money sitting in a wallet.
Aussies can find their unclaimed money free through government websites. (Source: TikTok @suggarmammatv / AAP)

There is $1.5 billion in unclaimed money being held by the government, and it is free and simple to get back.

Aussies have been urged to use the official MoneySmart website to search for, and claim, their lost money.

Aussies wanting to claim any money found will need to provide a proof of identity.

Popular TikToker SugarMammaTV shared a video to her followers explaining how to claim your lost money. Some commented they had received an email to claim it but deleted the email thinking it wasn’t real.

“I deleted the email [because I] thought it sounded like a scam lol,” one user commented.

“Genuinely thought it was a scam [so I didn’t] click links. Why’d the email look so scammy? That didn’t calm my scam senses,” another said.

While some thought it may not have been legit, others reported they had found some lost money, with one user claiming they recovered $634.

How was the money lost?

The lost money is often found in dormant bank accounts, shares, investments and life insurance policies.

Money becomes unclaimed when a bank account hasn’t been used for seven years and contains a balance of $500 or more.

Money can become ‘lost’ when you move house and forget to update your details with a financial institution or company.

How do I know if I have unclaimed money?

It’s a simple, and completely free process. First, head to the official MoneySmart website and go to the ‘Find unclaimed money’ page.

In the search box you can type in your name or your Original Transaction Number (OTN) if you still have it.

Then click ‘Search’ and any unclaimed money under your name or OTN will appear.

If nothing comes up, don’t be deterred. There are other ways to find potentially lost money.

For example, Aussies can go through the ATO to search for lost superannuation, or use state government services to find money from deceased estates, share dividends, salaries and wages, cheques, trust money, over-payments, proceeds of sale, and more.

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