Is there anything worse than moving? Between packing up all of your belongings, lugging them across town just to unpack them again, and the upheaval that happens in the process, a lot can get lost in the shuffle. Unfortunately, that sometimes includes financial statements. But moving isn’t the only reason financial documents go missing. Sometimes they’re stolen or may be damaged in a fire, flood, or other natural disaster. Sometime they’re even lost in the mail — especially if you’ve moved and haven’t updated your address with the financial institution in question. So, what should you do if you’ve discovered that these important financial statements and documents have gone missing? Follow these steps to get back on track.
3 Things to Do If Your Financial Statements Have Gone Missing
1. Find Your Financial Institution Online
The first (and likely easiest) solution if your financial statements have gone missing is to go online. Find your financial institutions online and register on their websites if you haven’t already done so. Then log in and ensure that your address is right in their system. If it’s not, change your address. You should be able to find PDFs of the statements you haven’t yet received.
While you’re at it, you might want to consider enrolling in automatic bill pay on your lender’s site or through your bank. That way a missing statement won’t stand between you and remaining current on your bills.
2. Get on a Call With Your Financial Institution
Unbelievable though it may be, there are still a few major (and minor) financial institutions that haven’t fully embraced the web. If that’s the case with one of your lenders, take the other route and give them a call on the phone.
You can find the phone number to call most likely on an old bill, or even online (even if they don’t have a portal, they’ll probably still have a website). Then tell the customer service representative you talk to that you need to update your address, and ask to have the missing statement or statements re-sent to you in the mail.
If you’re worried that your financial documents may have been stolen or seen by someone else, it’s important that you alert your financial institution of this so they can be on the lookout for any fraud involving your account.
3. Read Your Credit Reports
So, what if you’ve never received statements from some of your lenders or loan servicers, and at this point, you’re not even sure who you owe? Your credit report can help.
Simply go to AnnualCreditReport.com and request one credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (CRAs): Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. It’s imperative to get all three, as companies aren’t required to report to all of the CRAs. Therefore, you might find lenders on one that aren’t on the other two, and so on.
The names of institutions that show up on your credit reports will be their legal names, so you might not always recognize them. Take a look at the balance of any account you’re not sure of, as that might help you figure out what’s what. Other details that might help are dates and payment history.
All in all, you might be surprised how helpful your credit reports can be in organizing your financial accounts.
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Going Fully Electronic — Something to Consider
Now that you know how to find a missing statement, what if you could make it so you don’t have to deal with the hassle ever again? Many banks and lenders offer the ability to turn off paper statements altogether.
Turning off paper statements, when you have the option to view the statements online, doesn’t just mean avoiding the hassle of statements getting lost in the mail. It also prevents that specific financial information about you from circulating in the mail at all, and the possibility of it landing in the wrong hands.
If you want to keep your financial life simpler and prevent your paper statements from getting into the wrong hands, going fully electronic with your statements might be something to consider.