The advertisement is enticing: work from home, or boost your income while working in your PJs at night and earn up to $85,000. It promises to change your life.
Daily my email box is filled with a raft of such offers, ranging from marketing to horse racing and share trading. This particular offer relates to locating other people’s “lost” super and getting paid for it.
Lost super is a huge and growing money pot. The official estimate is that there is over $18 billion of unclaimed super sitting in dormant accounts or with the tax office.
It remains unclaimed because the owners have lost track of their funds through frequent job moves. Some who are aware that their super has gone into a zero-interest or low-interest rollover fund or has been handed to the tax office may regard the amount as too small to bother about, don’t know how to go about it or don’t have the time to find it.
Now a company called Cre8 is offering an online business program to people who want to work from home to reunite lost super with its owners.
It is claimed that the system enables recovery agents to find the lost money, deal with the government department in question, return the money to its owner and in return receive a fee from the happily reunited super member.
So far so good. A recovery expert who answered the “work from home” ad online soon was bombarded with phone calls asking her if she was interested in buying the system.
She said she was but when she wanted to know a bit more about how it works, she was met with evasive answers and emailed a wad of material about how wonderful the system is. She was also told that the program had been written up in Money, which it hadn’t.
If you want to go further you are asked to buy a “Recovery consulting programme” – a four-ring binder that is the backbone of the system, giving a step-by-step guide to recovering unclaimed super and other lost money. It costs $4499 for a “Gold” program and $5997 for the “Platinum” version. Ouch.
My main reservation is how the home entrepreneur can locate people who have lost their super, as there appears to be no master list generally available. A super fund member can log onto the tax office site or, for non-super funds, the ASIC site, but must set up an account, providing ID details; they will be given a transaction number for their funds. How one gets, say, 1000 such names is not explained.
I contacted Cre8 to find out more and was given very evasive treatment. I was asked immediately if I was calling to buy a package. When I said no, I was seeking more information, I was told the person who could help was in a meeting, then, no, they were overseas, but someone would call me back. No one did. I called again and was told that the only person who could talk to me was busy but would call back. I’m still waiting.
From long experience, I have found that companies that have nothing to hide are happy to provide product information. I regard Cre8’s lack of engagement as avoiding media scrutiny. If you are going to spend up to $6000 for a training package you would want to know a bit more about what you get for your outlay, other than some glowing online testimonials from people who claim to have bought the system.
The tax office confirmed it does not have a publicly available listing of lost super but has a free and secure personalised service for individuals to keep track of their accounts. You create a myGov account with a password that is designed for your sole use. There are stringent security checks to ensure that privacy of individual data is maintained.
A similar system applies to people seeking lost bank account balances and managed funds with the ASIC’s MoneySmart website.
Both searches are free. I also called a super industry expert and asked him if he had heard of an accessible list of members who had lost their super. He hadn’t.
CRE8 System for locating lost super
• An online “business” that may allow you to earn some extra money from home.
• The promoters are evasive when it comes to the details.
• It’s not clear how you can identify the people who have lost super or other funds.
• It may be that you have to ask your friends and acquaintances whether they have lost super, which you will aim to locate for them and in return they give you a cut of the found money. You would have to get their ID details and passwords to do that. But even then I don’t know how it would work. The main aim seems to be to sell a training program that may or may not be any good. I wouldn’t touch it.