Putin, North Korea, David Faber, Jim Stewart and Your Savings and Brokerage Accounts
Image David Faber Image, Courtesy CNBC

Putin, North Korea, David Faber, Jim Stewart and Your Savings and Brokerage Accounts

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There are very few things or people that get my attention on CNBC. I usually find myself switching over to Bloomberg when Joe Kernen or Jim Cramer start rambling. I guess neither were around on Christmas Eve morning because I ended up leaving the channel where it was to catch the tail end of a discussion between David Faber and Jim Stewart where Faber seemed to suggest that a lot of people on Wall Street were concerned about a debilitating cyber attack on our financial institutions.

This has been bothering me more than a little over Christmas. David Faber and Jim Stewart are serious journalists and they speak to a lot of people. They were suggesting the type of a cyber attack where you wake up and check your bank account and it is gone --the bank’s records and its back-ups have all been destroyed. They were not speaking about an attack where accounts cannot easily be recreated, where you log back in after a few minutes and everything is fine.

We all know that the banks – big and small – have multiple back ups, redundancies and active and passive protections. But, we also know that Kim Jong-un needs a win. Vladimir Putin does nothing but win and may feel newly emboldened by Moscow Mitch McConnell and the Republicans support to probe further and deeper into our society than he already has. In either case, these guys have teams of very talented people working to disrupt our lives and our financial systems. Either one would celebrate taking down Ally or Goldman Sachs in the same way that they celebrate Trump.

If nothing else, it seems to me that this is an awfully good time to download your latest bank and brokerage statements and to take screenshots daily of all your savings and CD account balances if you can. If we find ourselves in a situation where everything needs to be retraced, you will be way ahead of the game.

Ari Socolow
Ari Socolow: Ari Socolow is the Chief Economist and Editor-in-Chief at BestCashCow. He is particularly interested in issues relating to bank transparency and the climate crisis. Since co-founding BestCashCow in 2005, Ari has been frequently cited in the media as an expert on local and national savings accounts, CD products, mortgage and loan products and credit card rewards products.

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  • Mark O'Bryan

    December 30, 2019

    Interesting, and potentially useful suggestion. Thanks, Ari.

    > download your latest bank and brokerage statements

    I'm already covered there, because I still get paper statements every month.

    > take screenshots daily of all your savings and CD account balances if you can.

    Not needed on CD accounts. I have my original CD purchase document, and unless they have proof it has been cashed out, the current value can be calculated easily.

    That ONLY leaves Savings & Checking accounts, and I have been taking weekly screen snapshots for quite a while (to capture interest deposited automatically & periodic auto-pays). Also real-time snaps whenever I do any significant transaction on-line (mostly Transfers). They are all in a Transactions folder on my PC, and backed up locally daily (and copied off-site not so regularly).

    And I save all my Deposit receipts (with Balance listed), on cash transactions (in an envelope, in a drawer). This is actually not all that hard to do, and could come in handy in other situations.

    Better to be safe, than sorry. Though I don't really know how useful all this will be in the event of such a catastrophic financial disaster, should one occur.

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