I asked several friends, both FaceBook and non-FaceBookers, if they use electronic banking, bill pay, &/or electronic bank statements. Many of the FaceBookers do – not surprising. Some of my other friends don’t, and a few suggested they worry about having identity stolen or a lack of ‘trust’ for the internet.
Is the security of hard copy checks, in-store credit or debit purchases, and mail better? I wonder if my friends use their debit/credit cards in stores, where others have access to them. The only times I have had anything manipulated or stolen, was in a restaurant where a shady waitress evidently swiped my credit card twice, and had a nice meal. The credit card company took that charge off when I called them – they were accommodating. The second time, someone may have looked over my shoulder while I was shopping in Chicago. The bank evidently electronically noticed that my card number was trying to be used in a fraudulent manner, called me (I had just walked in the door from the Chicago trip), and together we blocked the charge, and the bank closed down that credit card, and reissued me a new number. That was a really proactive, positive example of my community bank in action.
So my ‘bad’ experiences toward fraud or identity theft have been out there in retail establishments, rather than via the internet. Do I use my credit card electronically for internet purchases? Just ask my poor husband. You bet I do - for everything from airline tickets to concert tickets, shoes, purses and crafting supplies. We use one credit card for online purchases, and I reconcile that bill every month, just before I pay it through my bank’s electronic bill pay feature.
One of my best friends from college, Nancy, says she likes her bank statements mailed ‘just in case.’ Just in case of what? What if your mail is stolen from your mailbox? What if your mailman is Newman (from the Seinfeld show) and chucks his bag full of mail out a window, along with your bank statement? Some identity theft comes from ‘dumpster diving’ criminals who access paper records from the trash as well as stealing mail from mailboxes, looking over shoulders at the ATM or in a retail establishment.
Nancy told me that she has those “annoying to-be-filed piles” of paper in her home. She also wrote that one of her children’s schools is ‘paperless’ and she loves it – “I can always find what I need on my Blackberry.” Her other children’s school is not paperless, and she “constantly has papers coming home and I’m going through their binder to find what I need.” Nancy’s last sentence sums it up, “Hmmmm.”
The dilemma Baby Boomers are experiencing is being born on the tail end of a paper-filled society and the infancy of the internet. Change. It’s hard.