Mail theft is on the rise – help protect your identity with estatements
If you enjoy the safety and convenience of online banking but you still receive paper statements by mail, now may be the time to upgrade that experience. Electronic statements, also known as estatements, are more convenient than paper statements, create less paper waste and arrive faster than paper statements. But most importantly, estatements are more secure than paper statements sent by mail.
Digital theft gets all the media attention these days, but according to the Federal Trade Commission, the number one way thieves steal your personal information is by stealing your mail or going through your trash. It’s a growing problem. A report by the USPS Office of Inspector General found that from March 2020 to February 2021, mail theft complaints more than doubled to 300,000, compared to the same period in 2019-2020.
Mail theft, also known as letterboxing, happens when a person deliberately steals someone’s mail. This includes mailbox looting, package theft and mailbox fishing, which is when the thief ties a string to something covered in a sticky substance, then drops that into the mailbox and pulls out whatever sticks to it.
If you throw away your paper statement without shredding it first, you’re creating another avenue for thieves to steal your personal information. Indeed, if you’re not using a cross-cut shredder, thieves can piece your shredded statement back together and get some sensitive information from it.
Switching to paperless statements could help prevent identity theft resulting from stolen mail. It provides an extra layer of security by eliminating the paper trail so your information can’t be stolen from the mailbox or the garbage. To access estatements, you use your online banking credentials, making estatements as secure as online banking. Just don’t share your login credentials with anyone.
Estatements have other advantages:
- They save paper and cause less clutter, which is better for your filing cabinet and the environment.
- Estatements are delivered immediately, while paper statements could take a week or longer to arrive in your mailbox.
- You can access your estatements wherever you can safely log in to online banking or the mobile app.
- When you’re trying to find a particular transaction, it’s easier to search estatements than it is to scan a paper statement.
- Your estatements will be archived in online banking for two years. If you want to keep them longer than that, you can download the PDFs and store them indefinitely on your computer or offline storage.
- When you no longer need your estatements, just delete the files. No need for shredding, and no paper waste in the landfill.
- If you feel more comfortable reviewing your statements on paper, you can print the PDFs at your convenience. When you’re done, just make sure you shred them with a high-quality, cross-cut shredder, or bring them to one of our free shred days.
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