Banking Follies

Steven M. Bellovin smb at
Sun Jan 14 15:31:22 EST 2007

On Sat, 13 Jan 2007 18:26:52 -0500
John Ioannidis <ji at> wrote:

> Citibank send me periodic reminders to switch to an electronic-only
> statement so that I am "better protected against identity theft".
The advice may actually be correct, though of course they have a major
financial incentive to persuade you to adopt the scheme even if it

Anyway -- we're so focused in this group on the Internet that we
sometimes forget about physical world attacks.  Theft of financial data
(and financial objects, such as checks and credit cards) from physical
mailboxes (or garbage cans) is quite commonplace, and is -- according to
some -- a more significant vector for identity theft than Internet fun
and games.  The Wall Street Journal advised people to use electronic
statements for just that reason (see;
also note the list at

		--Steve Bellovin,

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