Why you need to print out your e-statements

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Why you need to print out your e-statements
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Have you noticed that more and more of the companies you do business with are trying to get you to turn off paper statements? While it may be convenient to do everything online and not have to deal with paper mail, it could come back to haunt you later.

Why you need paper copies of important documents

Read more: This fake Amazon email will steal your information

Here’s the deal. You have to be prepared not to rely exclusively on electronic methods. Think about all the hacks we’ve heard about just recently, including big breaches at Yahoo, as well as big hotel & restaurant chains

Over the past few years, more and more companies, websites, banks, phones — you name it — have suffered data breaches. And the damage is getting worse and worse.

In the event of a catastrophic data breach, involving any company you currently do business with or have in the past, how would you prove that you paid off that big debt, or the loan amount they have on file is wrong or your account balance is incorrect?

Kind of scary, right? Unfortunately, this is the world we live in now — where data breaches happen every day and information is stolen, lost and exposed all the time.

So you need to take steps to protect yourself, and getting paper statements in the mail is the safest way to go. 

If the electronic system at your bank or any other company​ has a nervous breakdown — or is hacked — having a paper statement in hand makes 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 statements only, well, that could leave you in a bad situation.

If a company is going to charge you to get paper statements, or will give you a discount for switching to e-statements, there’s a simple work-around.

When you get an email with your statement or other important information, just print it out and file it away as a hard copy.

Another word of caution about e-statements

Online statements can be easy to miss — especially if your inbox is constantly flooded with new emails.

It can be easy to overlook another ‘your statement is ready’ notice — as well as what’s in that statement. Having a hard copy is an easier way to not only remember to pay the bill, but also to check everything in that bill line by line, in order to ensure there are no mistakes.

If you’re worried about missing any important emails, set a reminder for yourself to check once a week for any important financial or other statements containing sensitive information that you may have missed.

It’s also a good idea to set reminders for when your bills are due. And when that notification pops up, pay the bill immediately so you don’t forget!

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Alex Thomas Sadler About the author: Alex Thomas Sadler
Alex Thomas Sadler is the Managing Editor of Clark.com and Clark Howard Digital Products. Alex is also the host of Common Cents, a new Clark.com series that makes money simple, so you can better understand and take control of your own financial life. Alex graduated from the University of Georgia with bachelor's degrees in ...Read more
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