The message sounds like a typical email scam from some forlorn prince seeking access to frozen bank funds, but it’s genuine: Belgians have €575 million waiting in dormant accounts.
The 2021 total marks a slight increase in dormant holdings from the €568 million reported a year ago, according to Belga News Agency.
Financial institutions consider accounts dormant when at least five years have passed without any activity and no communication between an account holder or beneficiary and the financial institution.
Checking and savings accounts, insurance policies, and safety deposit boxes can be dormant. A frequent scenario occurs when heirs to an estate are not aware that an account, such as a savings account, was opened in their name.
Belgian financial institutions, starting in 2008, were required to report their dormant accounts annually. The Federal Public Service (FPS) Finances, in charge of taxation and finances for the Belgian Government, keeps tabs on dormant accounts.
Unclaimed funds are transferred to the Caisse de dépôts et consignations (CDC) of the FPS Finance if a financial institution cannot find an account’s owner. Account-holders or beneficiaries have 30 years to claim these assets if the balance exceeds €60.
Anyone can search the FPS Finances database to see if they have dormant funds at My MiFin.