Can the government just take money from your bank account? YES they can!
Under recent changes to the law, if an account has gone for three years or more without any transactions, deposits can now be deemed to be unclaimed, and banking institutions must hand these monies over to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission , who then deposit it in the Consolidated Revenue Fund. This includes trust accounts and life insurance policies.
Recently a Brisbane woman had $150,000 disappear from her account.
The bank claims to have sent her a letter warning her to make a transaction, but she did not receive it in time. As she said ” this is an infringement of my personal liberty, surely I have the right to use or not use my own money, as I see fit “.
Many Australians are likely to be caught out, as all deposit taking institutions had to submit a list of inactive accounts to ASIC by 31st May 2013.
According to the Australian Bankers Association, hundreds of thousands of Australians have money in old bank accounts, and lost super. Keep in mind, bank fees and interest are not considered transactions.
These changes to the legislation, have been seen as a revenue-boosting exercise and could nett the Federal Government over $100 million this year.
Can you get your money back? YES you can!
You can claim your money at any time, however once ASIC take control of an account the process to get the money returned can take months.
It will be similar to claiming lost superannuation.
If you think money has vanished from an unused bank account, go to the MoneySmart website and search the unclaimed money register.
If you find your name on the register, you should approach your bank and submit a claim.
It is then up to the bank to assess if you are the rightful owner of the funds.
If successful, the bank will then notify ASIC to release the funds. The money will then be returned to the bank, and be repaid to you with interest.