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Safe deposit boxes – How safe are they really?

Risks of having your own safe deposit box: 

It is very difficult to build a safe into a concrete structure without someone knowing you’ve got it, and in DR there are the “Have’s” and the “Have not’s”. The “Have not’s” are always on the look-out for getting a piece of the “Have’s” assets and money. Even if you manage to secretely build one into your house or office, then there’s always the risk of the security guard or cleaning staff that might get a wiff of your safe being there. If they do find out, then it’s like they’ve discovered a pot of gold, and the chances of a burglary and attack are extreemely high.

Risks of getting a safe deposit box with a private company: 

Often individuals with the background in either the criminal arena, security or finance will establish a private company offering you to entrust your hard earned cash, documents and other valuables to be protected by their vault and security guard. One of the risks with this is that the private owner tells you that they have no ability to access your safe deposit box without your key. However countless of cases have taken place where such owners have cleaned out all boxes and miraculously disappeared! with devastating effects to the clients. Also if you ever fall out with the owner, then he/she can manipulate the situation or invent illogical reasons as to why you suddenly can’t access your assets (or they might demand more money for you to get access again). With a bank the rules are usually uniform for all clients. The other risk with a private firm is that if some hard core burglars decide to surprise an often untrained, unaware or sleeping security guard, then such a guard will do what he’s asked to do at gun point (or he might just take a bribe and lie about how things really unfolded). And how often do we hear about the Police using their badges to get doors opened, after which they rob and disappear like any other burglar! 

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Risks of getting a safe deposit box with a Government owned/controlled bank: 

Your safety deposit box may not be as safe as you think. Banks are required by law to hand over unclaimed property such as the contents of safety deposit boxes, forgotten security deposits, and other unclaimed financial property to state government, where it is supposed to be safeguarded until claimed.  Unfortunately, rampant government spending has made the states desperate for new sources of revenue.  Some states have apparently been raiding these unclaimed properties, including the contents of safety deposit boxes, in order to shore up budget deficits.  Take the case of Carla Ruff.  According to the story, Ruff’s safety-deposit box was seized and turned over to the state of California, mistakenly marked as “owner unknown” even though Ruff did business with the bank regularly.  When she needed access to some important documents to help care for her ailing husband, she found out her box had been raided and the documents shredded.  Other valuable properties had been auctioned off at a huge discount to their actual worth.  I would be absolutely livid.  Obviously some sort of mistake was made and the bank didn’t turn over the contents of the box intentionally, but that does not excuse the state’s actions.

ABC News story – Governments robbing us:  

The 50 U.S. states are holding more than $32 billion worth of unclaimed property that they’re supposed to safeguard for their citizens. But a “Good Morning America” investigation found some states aggressively seize property that isn’t really unclaimed and then use the money — your money — to balance their budgets.

Unclaimed property consists of things like forgotten apartment security deposits, uncashed dividend checks and safe-deposit boxes abandoned when an elderly relative dies.

Don’t Assume Your Safety Deposit Box Is Safe

The moral of the story is not to keep anything you absolutely can’t afford to lose in a safety deposit box.  If you have important documents you’d like to safeguard, at the very least you should make copies and store them in a safe place at home.

If you do decide to get a safe deposit box, then ask the bank about their policies in relation to government demands of seizing such assets based on various scenarios. And unless you do a criminal background check on the owner a private security box company and check them out with many locals, then this might be one of the riskyer options.

Category: DR News |

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Last updated December 4, 2016 at 11:02 PM
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