909 SE Bay Boulevard
PO BOX 2280
Newport, OR 97365

You Can Protect Yourself from Financial Fraud

For Immediate Release

Monday, August 29, 2011

Contact: Fred Postlewait
              Oregon Coast Bank

Newport, OR – With identity theft in the news on a regular basis, “how do I protect myself” is on the minds of most consumers. Fortunately, by following a few common sense suggestions, there are ways to dramatically reduce your exposure to financial fraud.

Which is safer, writing a check or paying with a credit or debit card? Although card theft receives the most coverage in the media, your risk of financial exposure is far higher every time you write a check. “Each time you create a physical document containing financial information, you are at risk until it has been shredded by you or your bank,” explains Fred Postlewait, President and CEO of Oregon Coast Bank. “It can be stolen while in the mail or the information can be copied by disreputable employees at a store or business. Even saving canceled checks at home is risky, since a thief could steal them. Storing them in a personal safe may be an alternative, but only if the safe can’t be ripped from the wall or smashed.” The reality is a written check contains far more personal information (such as your address) than a credit or debit card reveals each time it is swiped. As an added security measure, card information is encrypted as it is transferred electronically.

Another important way to protect yourself from financial fraud is to insist on monthly E-Statements from your bank, instead of paper ones. “Stealing a printed bank statement reveals a treasure trove of information for a criminal,” points out Postlewait. “Whether the theft occurs through the mail or by someone stealing information from an old statement in a shoebox or filing cabinet, you’re still at substantial risk.” Since E-Statements can only be accessed through your password protected online account, they are considered by experts to be far safer than paper statements. E-Statements are securely archived online, where you can easily view them whenever you need information. Access to prior year’s statements is also available if you need it. Images of the checks you write can be viewed electronically with your statement. “If you choose to print a copy of your E-Statement or images of the checks you have written, be sure to shred them as soon you’ve looked at them,” adds Postlewait. “You’ll still have access to them in your online account, but keeping any paper record is risky.”

Besides the safety advantages, users of paperless, inkless E-Statements are also making a positive contribution to the environment. “We’ve already had hundreds of our customers request E-Statements instead of paper ones,” says Postlewait. “By including Online Banking and E-Statements as a free service in conjunction with most of our accounts, we’re encouraging everyone to go as paperless as possible, not just for the environment, but for their financial protection.”