Should I worry about personal info in my proof of residency?
January 16, 2015 4:39 PM   Subscribe

I provided a bank statement as my proof of residency. Is this bad?

I recently had to provide proof of residency as part of converting an out-of-state license. Without really thinking, I grabbed a bank statement because that's what I had handy and because the online FAQ specifically listed bank statements as acceptable documents for this purpose. I guess I should have expected that they would want some permanent record that proof had been provided, but it still took me by surprise when the attendant at the RMV scanned the statement, which included my account balances as well as the last 4 digits of each account number.

Now I'm stressing out wondering whether someone could do something nefarious with this information. Even if they couldn't, it still makes me uncomfortable to think that the contents of my bank accounts as of November are part of some government record somewhere.

What should I do? Can I call and request that this document be deleted if I provide some alternate proof of residency? Does anyone familiar with the system know whether this document will actually be kept in a permanent file or will it get discarded once my application has been fully processed? Am I crazy to even be worrying about this at all?
posted by circumspice to Law & Government (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Take a deep breath. It's not like the government doesn't keep a record of every account you have open (the full numbers!) as part of your tax records.
posted by Oktober at 4:47 PM on January 16, 2015 [4 favorites]

Anyone you have ever written a check to has your entire bank account number, name, and address.

This is not a thing to worry about.
posted by phunniemee at 5:00 PM on January 16, 2015 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you for the reassuring responses so far. I guess I should clarify that I am actually more concerned about privacy than anything else. Like, every time I interact with the RMV is the representative going to pull up my file and have the contents of my savings and checking accounts staring them in the face? Because that feels really weird and awkward to me.
posted by circumspice at 5:49 PM on January 16, 2015

is the representative going to [...] have the contents of my savings and checking accounts


I'm stressing out wondering whether someone could do something nefarious with this information

A governmental official that wants to do something nefarious to you does not really need a bank statement without full account numbers to do so.
posted by saeculorum at 5:56 PM on January 16, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'm pretty sure it will be filed away somewhere and won't pop up every time they look at your file.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 10:23 PM on January 16, 2015

Other than perhaps some information about what you spend your money on, there isn't any information on your bank statements which isn't already on your checks. I mean, you shouldn't be using check if you can avoid it and I wouldn't carry my checks around with me all the time but I wouldn't worry about handing that information over to someone for a legit purpose either.

The single most important thing you can do to prevent fraud is to look at your transactions via online banking at least every few days, if not, daily. I'd even say you're better off doing that one thing and nothing else than doing everything else that you can and then not monitoring your account activity.

They won't have continuing access to your account information and it's probably 50/50 on whether the statement get's destroyed (likely shredded and recycled) outright or is electronically imaged and saved for 3-7 years. In either case, they'll only ever be able to see the information on that specific statement and about the worst thing they could do with it is maybe print out and use some forged checks drawn on your bank account. Again, that is a risk that you take any time your write a check too but it's not a huge problem so I wouldn't worry about it.

TL:DR: From someone who works for a bank and has a lot of experience with fraud and identity theft as a retail banker in a branch, you're totally fine, there is nothing to worry about.
posted by VTX at 8:54 AM on January 17, 2015

I did this here in Minnesota (to get an enhanced license) because I don't really have any other bills in my name that issue paper statements. I don't think you are crazy to have done it partly because you should have an expectation of privacy when it comes to your RMV records. Now, there is a tiny, tiny chance that something happens, but you will be able to list the RMV as one place that had your account info. Another would be your employer if you get direct deposit, or any other agency that automatically debits or credits your accounts.
posted by soelo at 8:13 AM on January 19, 2015

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