Are You Balancing Your Bank Statements Every Month?

I’m sure you know you should be checking your bank statements every month for errors and balancing it to your checkbook or other records. Unfortunately, while most people know they should be doing this far too many don’t.

They let the statements pile up and deal with a bunch all at once, maybe even waiting until the end of the year.

There are a couple of problems that this can cause, however.

First, if there are errors on your statement, your bank probably has a limited time for you to report them and have them corrected. Most banks give you 30 or 60 days to report mistakes. If you don’t report them, you’re basically agreeing that the statement is correct.

If you try to address these issues months later, it will be too late.

The other problem is not so much a financial problem as it is a safety issue.

If you aren’t checking your bank statements every month, it’s far too easy for someone to steal it from your mailbox without you realizing it.

Mail theft is one of the most common ways that identity theft can occur. The stuff in your mailbox has all kinds of information about you and if your mail is left somewhere unsecured, a thief can easily grab what they need from it (especially if it sits there until you get home from work at the end of the day).

By checking your bank statements regularly every month, you’ll be much more likely to notice if one is missing. If so, there are a few things you should do:

  • Check with your bank to see if there was a delay of some sort.
  • If they did in fact send it on time, double-check for other things that might be missing such as credit card statements.
  • Check with the post office and see if there is a change of address form on file for your address. Why would there be? Someone could have put a fraudulent change of address on file for you so they receive all your mail. If this happens, notify the post office of the fraud immediately.
  • Contact your local police and report the mail theft.
  • Contact your bank and let them know what happened. You’ll want to change your PIN codes at the very least, but you may even need to change account numbers so the information that was stolen won’t be of any use.

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