Lost in Transportation

After the phone call, I felt very bad. I really shouldn’t have been cheap.

Here’s what happened.

Early this month, I filled the paper work to move part of my Roth IRA assets from Scottrade to Vanguard. At the same time, my wife also submitted her application for transferring two Vanguard funds as well. Both applications were mailed on the same day.

Last Saturday, four prospects of four funds that I wanted to transfer out of Scottrade arrived, mailed directly by Vanguard instead of by Scottrade as before. I took that as a sign that they already received and processed my application. But what about my wife’s? Since both applications were mailed on the same day from the same location, they should also have received it. However, there was no mail or email about my wife’s application. Could it be lost in the mail? And the form has all her personal information, name, DOB, SSN, and bank account number, on it.

So I called Vanguard the first thing this morning and what I feared most had indeed happened: there was no any information about my wife’s application! Checked with name, SSN, address, and nothing showed up. I had sent mutual fund applications by regular mail dozens of times in the past, and all went through without any incident. Actually, when I was at the post office the other day, I thought about getting a delivery confirmation for the application (I wanted to make sure Vanguard, not somebody else, receives it), but that only applies to priority mail or parcel, not regular mail. And certified mail wouldn’t serve what I wanted either. In the end, I decided to go with regular mail instead of priority mail since there was no mishap before. And I just wanted to save a couple of bucks!

If I had spent four dollars more, I could have been assured that the mail reached its destination, instead of sitting here and worrying about what could happen with all my wife’s personal information. The damage may not as severe if the application was simply lost in the mail, but what if it gets into somebody else’s hands? Could she become a victim of identity theft? Should I start a credit monitoring service for her?

I just couldn’t imagine the worst case.

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