Various government organisations are providing a convenient service to find unclaimed money. People in Australia can visit these websites looking for funds that could be owed to someone alive or deceased. The unclaimed money finder service is rather useful to ascertain whether someone owes you a few hundred dollars here and there. Each state of Australia is providing this handy lookup service at everyone’s disposal.
When it comes to OSINT, however, these unclaimed money search engines allow investigators to discover the registered addresses of its subjects under investigation.
Unclaimed Money NSW
For instance, the Unclaimed Money NSW finder is run by Revenue NSW, the administrative division of the Government of New South Wales.
The search feature of the Unclaimed Money NSW service is quite straightforward: one needs to enter a name and hit the ‘Search’ button.
In the following example, we are searching for a fairly common name: “David Jones”.
As shown, the search results include every David Jones from the Revenue NSW database. If we click on a record, a pop-up window reveals the full name of the subject, their last known address, how much money is owed, since when and the name of the debtor.
Because there is no verification of the visitors whatsoever, any name can be entered into the search box. What happens if we punch a few names of known politicians into the search field?
Searching for Public Figures
For example, a query for Malcolm Turnbull yields a few hits. Many of the search results probably belong to other Malcolm Turnbulls in Australia, but
6 WILEY STREET WAVERLEY is suspicious as Mr Turnbull’s electorate features the Waverley suburb.
Let’s try a different former prime minister: Kevin Rudd. As Mr Rudd’s full name is Kevin Michael Rudd, the first result of this query seems to be promising.
85 NORMAN CRESCENT NORMAN PARK QLD 4170 a correct result? According to this rant in Cairns News (a politically biased blog), the Norman Crescent property belongs to the Former Prime Minister Mr Rudd indeed.
The last subject of this experiment is the Deputy Premier John “Bruz” Barilaro. According to Wikipedia, Mr Barilaro’s full name is ‘Giovanni Domenic Barilaro’, so we query for the full name on the Unclaimed Money portal.
There is only one result: a $200 debt from Tab - a sports betting company in Australia. The address associated with this result is
5 HAMILTON PL JERRABOMBERRA NSW 2169.
Is this the correct address? We can cross-check the property by looking it up on Google Maps. On Google Street View, there is a blurred out greenish poster sitting on a trailer on the driveway.
When we search for the previous campaign materials of Mr Barilaro on Google, we can find a similar looking poster on his Facebook page. It is not the same photo, but the greenish colour and the pose both look identical to the one on the trailer.
Reverse Address Search
What is more, the NSW database is available to download by clicking on the Download Online UCM List tab.
The full database is a cleartext file:
- Divided by the letters of the alphabet;
- The format of these files is similar to a CSV file; and
- The full database takes about 260 megabytes.
The benefit of the offline cleartext database over the Unclaimed Money NSW portal is that the files allow reverse lookups by the registered address or the name of the debtor.
The Unclaimed Money service is available in other states than NSW:
- Revenue NSW (the screenshots from above are taken from here)
- Public Trustee and Guardian for the ACT
- Public Trustee of Queensland
- Department of Treasury (Western Australia)
- State Revenue Office Victoria (search query requires address along with the name)
- Department of Treasury and Finance (South Australia)
- Department of Treasury and Finance (Tasmania, no online search is available)
- Northern Territory Office of the Public Trustee (no online search is available)
Other unclaimed money finder services:
Mr Turnbull, don’t forget to claim that $150 from 1988!