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The simple way to find out if you have missing money



The surging cost of living, from groceries and mortgages to petrol and power, is squeezing Australian family budgets.

Which makes it a good time to claim back money you might not even realise is owing to you.

Billions of dollars in accumulated unclaimed funds are sitting in coffers, for everything from old bank accounts and shares to forgotten rental bonds, refunds and toll cashbacks.

READ MORE: Huge omissions in Aussie COVID-19 data

Money experts say most of us are unaware of the simple ways we can check online whether we are owed money.

A good place to start is ASIC's Moneysmart unclaimed money finder, which could connect people with more than $1.5 billion.

"Now more than ever it's really important you do look out for cash that might be missing from you," Effie Zahos, editor-at-large at Canstar, told 9News.

"A lot of us tend to forget where our money is, believe it or not, so [that's] lost bank accounts, insurance and shares. All you need to do is type in your name and up comes the amount. It takes less than a minute."

Zahos says the best way to avoid missing out on money in the first place is to ensure your personal and bank details are kept up to date.

A bank account is considered lost if there hasn't been activity for seven years.

While it's very quick to find or identify unclaimed money, there is a process to make a claim before it can be returned to you.

Siobhan Cantrill had a hunch she was overcharged for insurance on a credit card and it turns out she was.

People who purchased a car on finance or took out a credit card or loan before 2018 may be able to claim back a refund if they were sold junk insurance add-ons.

Siobhan Cantrill had a hunch she was overcharged for insurance on a credit card and it turns out she was.

"I was shocked, it was almost $4000," she told 9News.

She used a service called Claimo, which recovers money spent on junk insurance.

"Check your loan contract and check for a large fee, it could be called something like gap insurance or it could be called consumer credit insurance, but if you don't understand what it means, very good chance you've been charged," Nathan Mortlock from Claimo said.

The company takes a small cut for the specialised service but there are several ways you can look for yourself for free.

Revenue NSW is another key place to check for unclaimed money, covering dividends, old rental bonds, overpayments and more. There is currently $87 million sitting there.

It also pays to check your bank details are up to date with Services Australia (myGov) as otherwise you won't be receiving automatic Medicare rebates.

And it could be as simple as ticking a box to make sure you get $750 cash back for travelling on the M5.

Those who have reason to believe they may be owed money or assets from a deceased estate can search for a will on the NSW Trustee & Guardian website.

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