Monitor Statements

My suggestion to closely monitor statements that you periodically get in the mailbox has many benefits. All of us get periodic statements whether it is monthly, quarterly, daily, weekly or annually. I get periodic statements for many of my accounts including checking accounts, credit cards, home utilities, 401K, savings accounts, brokerage account, mobile phone, mortgage, home equity line of credit, and 529 plans. The frequencies by which we get these statements depend on the nature of the accounts and laws governing these accounts.

In my identity protection and theft prevention KAOS™ system, I have stated the need for getting to know our information by listing all identity components and related information including the frequency of the statements for the accounts. To know the frequency of the statements has a great benefit in detecting fraud. For example, if you expect to get a bank statement on the 5th of the month for the previous month, you will know within a reasonable period of time if the statement fails to reach your mailbox. Notice I use the word “reasonable” because even if you don’t know the statement cycle, you will eventually notice the missing statements either by accident or by design such as when the statement is requested by a mortgage company, but the discovery may be weeks or months down the road. Missing statements may indicate fraud cases. I’m not suggesting that in all cases of missing statements, you are facing a real identity theft threat but it is one indication of possible unauthorized address change. Criminals can use your own identity to change your address on the file in order to avoid being detected and/or divert funds. You should definitely follow-up with the institution that sends you the statements and get to the root cause of the missing statement and make sure your personal information remains unchanged.

Close examination of the statements can also help you detect errors and potential identity theft. Just because you think your balance should be zero doesn’t mean you should discard the statement without examining the account balance. You may be surprised to find unauthorized charges when you monitor statements, and the sooner you discover the errors and the unauthorized charges, the sooner you can recover and put a stop to the unauthorized use of your identity components.

Study the KAOS system after you learn why to monitor statements.

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