4th Dec 2009 by Michael Haltman
While there are still some bearer bonds outstanding (the number is quickly dwindling), the old reason for buying them which was anonymity no longer exists. Once a tool of criminals and those seeking to avoid taxes, bearer bonds are what the name implies. Whoever was holding them was in effect the owner. A holder could take a coupon to a bank teller and be paid, no questions asked. The risk was that if an owner lost them, the finder would then be the owner.
Today, with money laundering and homeland security, the old benefits no longer exist. If the holder goes to cash a coupon, all of their information including social security number is obtained, and the IRS informed. In order to buy them, a broker would need to do the research to find them, but as the benefit no longer exist, it is probably not worth the effort.
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