Do you check your credit reports regularly? If not, you may want to consider doing so as it’s one of the quickest and most reliable ways to make sure everything financial is in order. The fact is there are many fraudulent schemes and scams out there — and doing a quick check keeps the threats in check.
One such threat is the fear of a criminal imposter opening a bank account in your name. This can be as terrifying and disastrous as it sounds. Need to learn more? Read on for the low-down. . .
Can Someone Open a Bank Account In My Name?
Unfortunately, yes. If your personally identifiable information (PII) was compromised somewhere, like in phishing attempts or data breaches, scammers can obtain that data and use it to open a bank account under your name and without your consent.
5 Red Flags That Someone Opened a Bank Account in My Name
The following red flags indicate that someone might have opened a bank account in your name. Have you experienced any of the following?
- You start to receive notifications from banks you’ve never engaged with.
- You are told that you’ve been affected by data breaches of companies you don’t interact with.
- You see unknown banking or credit card transaction history items in your credit report.
- You receive promotional emails or text messages from brands you’ve never seen or used before.
- You have difficulty applying for a new credit card, bank account, or loan due to an unexpectedly low credit score.
If any of the above applies, you should take action and figure out if there has been an imposter bank account opened in your name.
What to Do if Someone Opened a Bank Account in My Name?
- Contact the bank. Ask for their help to resolve the damage, e.g. close the unexpected bank account and open a new one. (Update new bank account information if you’ve set up any automatic payments before.)
- Check your credit report and checking account report for abnormalities. The credit report contains detailed information about your credit history, while your checking account report records your full banking history Learn how to easily get your free credit report here.
- Protect other existing accounts. Given there might be a risk that your credentials have been leaked, we suggest you take precaution by changing passwords and turning on two-factor authentication (2FA).
- Report to the FTC about identity theft. You can visit IdentityTheft.gov to file a report. After that, you will receive full instructions on how to dispute the unauthorized transactions or to correct your credit report.
Best Practices to stay protected
- Review your bank statements, transactions records, and credit report regularly.
- Request to place a fraud alert on your credit report. You can do so by contacting any of the three credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
- Consider freeze your credit. Once a credit freeze is enabled, it blocks future access to your credit reports and prevents scammers from opening fraudulent accounts or making fraudulent applications.
An Easy Way to Protect Your Identity
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- Receive alerts if your personal info gets leaked.
- Protect against online threats, such as phishing scams.
- Stop sites from collecting privacy-compromising data.
- Safeguard your social media accounts against hackers.
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