The Top 5 Safe Deposit Box Myths

Date Posted: 17-11-2015

safe deposit box myths

1. Unusual items are kept in safe deposit boxes

A long-missing painting by Vincent Van Gogh was discovered in Spain by tax collectors who were going through the contents of a safe deposit box. The work of art, entitled "Cypress, Sky and Country," is thought to have been missing for about four decades.

This is a very unusual case. Most people who rent safe deposit boxes don’t have items of priceless, rare art. Safe deposit boxes are often used to store family jewelry, important documents and expensive electrical items.

2. It’s just like in the movies

In Inside Man from 2006, Denzel Washington investigates a bank heist, focusing on the contents of a safe deposit box that provides traces of a mysterious business tycoon's past.

In reality, safe deposit boxes are actually often used by families to store their sentimental and important items. Several people can be allocated to one box, many like to add their children and their spouse in order to ensure that the box contents are kept within the family and easily accessed.

3. Safe deposit box centres are often broken into

Valuables worth up to £20 million were taken when robbers broke into Hatton Garden Safe Deposit. Three men have been charged with conspiracy to commit burglary between May 2014 and April this year. The jury has been sworn in and the trail could last from between one month and one year.

Safe deposit centres are actually very secure and incidents like this make the headlines as it is extremely unusual for burglars to successfully access safe deposit boxes. Safe deposit boxes are typically housed in large, complex vaults and individuals have to go through multiple admission procedures in order to access their boxes.

4. Safe deposit boxes are used to store illegal items

In Bourne Identity from 2002, having just lost his memory, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) looks for clues in a safe deposit box. It contains multiple illegal passports, cash and a handgun.

Although the movies make the world of safe deposit boxes seem very unusual and shady, before opening a safe deposit box customers have to sign a declaration stating they will not be using the safe deposit box for any illegal means.

5. The U.S. government raided safe-deposit boxes to confiscate gold during the 1930’s

Roosevelt’s Executive Order 6102 ordered citizens to surrender their gold bullion in exchange for cash.

However, this 1933 directive relied on voluntary compliance. It didn’t allow government workers to conduct sweeps of deposit boxes. As a result, gold confiscation only took place on a very small scale. Many Americans who held gold in their own home safes ignored the order. 

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