Another day, another report about major security breaches!
I read recently about a ring of hackers figured out how to break into the big banks' back office system in the fall of 2013. To this point, at least $1 billion has been stolen. And that's the floor, not the ceiling, of what's been stolen.
Why should you care if some big bank has money stolen? Because the data security firm that busted this theft alleges the criminals could potentially wipe out all records of your money at a bank, brokerage house or mutual fund company.
ARTICLE: Credit Freeze and Thaw Guide
Paper statements help prove your balance in event of catastrophic attack
If you think about all the companies you do business with, they all try to get you to turn off paper statements. If you've done so, I want you to turn that around and go back to getting statements in the mail.
With a paper statement in hand, it's easier to prove that you had the money in the first place in the event funds go missing. If you are set up for electronic info only, well, that's going to hurt. So the best precaution I can give is for you to go back to getting the paper.
If it will cost you to go to paper statements, the workaround is simple. When you get that email with your statement, just print out your statement each month and file it away as a hard copy.
I know it sounds like I'm trying to take you back to 1995. But I am! You have to be prepared not to rely exclusively on electronic methods. If electronic methods have a nervous breakdown, you need to be prepared to protect yourself. And the best way to prove what funds you had on deposit in the event of a catastrophic data breach is with hard copy paper statements.