Are you a secret millionaire? The free and legitimate sites to check
It’s easy to forget to cancel a direct debit or fail to submit a meter reading to get an accurate energy bill.
But when it comes to knowing if you’re a millionaire, many would assume you’d keep close tabs on your chances.
Saturday’s National Lottery draw made one lucky recipient £17m richer overnight and this prize was snapped up in just hours.
But there are currently nine separate £1m lottery prizes that haven’t been claimed with the oldest one won on 17 January only available to claim until 16 July before ‘losing’ the lifechanging sum.
How could you forget?
Most of these overlooked wins are raffle draws, so there’s a decent chance people saw their numbers hadn’t come up, and chucked their tickets without checking properly, according to Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.
She said: “It’s a handy reminder for anyone who plays to check everything on the ticket before you bin it. If you still have old tickets kicking about at home, it’s worth checking whether you’re one of the nine lucky winners.”
But Coles said it’s not just about the National Lottery. There are around 1.4 million people who haven’t claimed Premium Bonds prizes – including five worth £100,000 and five worth £50,000. And that’s before you consider the estimated £850m languishing in lost bank accounts and up to £3bn in forgotten personal and workplace pensions.
How to check and claim your money
Coles lists the following sites to check:
You can check for unclaimed lottery prizes on the National Lottery website
For Premium Bonds prizes, you can enter your bond number into the website or download the prize checker app to see if there’s anything outstanding. The best way to avoid missing any prizes in future is to have them paid directly into your bank account. If you’ve won the big million, agents will come to your door so there’s no chance of not knowing about this.
If you have lost track of a bank account, you can trace lost accounts through the official tracing service. It will hunt down bank and building society accounts, as well as any NS&I products.
With workplace pensions, you’ll need the name of the employer or the scheme, plus the dates you worked there. Once you have a phone number or address, get in touch and ask for contact details of the administrator. For personal pensions, try to dig out any old paperwork to give you an idea of where your money is held.
If you can’t find any paperwork, try the government’s Pension Tracing Service. It will search 200,000 schemes and supply contact details of companies you have a pension with. You can then call the company concerned and get them to find your forgotten cash. Alternatively, you can pay £25 to search the Unclaimed Assets Register run by Experian.