How to Tell If Identity Thieves Have Opened Accounts in Your Name

Shocked woman
Photo by Photo_DDD / Shutterstock.com

One reason experts urge you to monitor your credit reports is so you can catch identity thieves who open fraudulent credit card accounts in your name.

But what if a crook opens a bank account in your name instead? Perhaps the thief has plans to bounce checks or overdraft the account at your expense.

That account likely will not appear on your credit reports. Instead, it will show up on your checking account reports. If you don’t know to check those reports, you may not realize the fraudulent bank account exists until long after the damage is done.

Here’s what every consumer should know about checking account reports, including how to get a copy of yours for free.

What is a checking account report?

There are multiple types of consumer reports. Credit reports, which reflect your credit and loan repayment history, are just one type.

A checking account report, which reflects your check-writing and banking history, is another type of consumer report.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) explains:

“Some banks and credit unions use checking account reports to help decide whether to offer consumers a checking account. Checking account reporting companies compile these reports using information from other banks and credit unions about consumers’ checking account and transaction history.”

Checking account reports contain negative information collected from banks and credit unions. For example, this information can include that a checking account was closed due to unpaid overdrafts or unpaid fees, the CFPB says.

For this reason, not all consumers have checking account reports. According to the CFPB, if no bank or credit union has ever reported negative activity associated with checking accounts in your name, you probably don’t have a checking account report.

How to request copies of your checking account reports

Credit-reporting agencies — such as Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — collect the information that goes into your credit reports.

Under federal law, every 12 months nationwide credit-reporting companies must provide you with a free copy of the credit report they have on you. To get your copy, you request it as we detail in “How to Get Your Free Credit Report in 6 Easy Steps.”

Similarly, there are checking account reporting companies that collect information for your checking account reports. The nationwide checking account reporting companies must also give you a free copy of their reports every 12 months if you request it.

According to the CFPB, those companies are:

  • Certegy Check Services
  • ChexSystems
  • CrossCheck
  • Early Warning Services
  • Global Payments Check Services
  • TeleCheck Services

To find out how to request your checking account report from any of these companies, see the CFPB’s list of consumer reporting companies, which includes detailed contact information for each company. The check and bank screening companies start on Page 21.

Some of those companies allow you to request your report online — just follow the link in the CFPB’s list. In other cases, you must request it by phone or mail.

How to find cheaper car insurance in minutes

Getting a better deal on car insurance doesn't have to be hard. You can have The Zebra, an insurance comparison site compare quotes in just a few minutes and find you the best rates. Consumers save an average of $368 per year, according to the site, so if you're ready to secure your new rate, get started now.

Read Next
4 Ways the Social Security System Will Change in 2020
4 Ways the Social Security System Will Change in 2020

These adjustments will impact both workers and retirees in the new year.

5 Awesome Places You Can Retire Overseas on $2,000 a Month or Less
5 Awesome Places You Can Retire Overseas on $2,000 a Month or Less

In this week’s podcast: tips on retiring overseas — from someone who’s been helping American expats for decades.

10 Products That Upgrade Your Home for Less Than $45
10 Products That Upgrade Your Home for Less Than $45

Make a fresh start with these affordable Amazon buys.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2020
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2020

Follow these tips to save — so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

10 Tools You Need for Financial Stability
10 Tools You Need for Financial Stability

Have these tools and accounts in place so you can weather whatever comes your way.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

This Is the Most Popular Age for Claiming Social Security
This Is the Most Popular Age for Claiming Social Security

Both men and women are most likely to start receiving Social Security benefits at this age.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?
Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?

You could save more than $30,000 by setting aside these costly expenses for just one year.

6 Things You Should Never Buy at Trader Joe’s
6 Things You Should Never Buy at Trader Joe’s

We love Trader Joe’s for plenty of reasons. But think twice about this handful of products.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

Don’t Toss These 7 Household Items — Sell Them
Don’t Toss These 7 Household Items — Sell Them

Here’s how to earn cash as you give new life to these unwanted items.

7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home
7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home

Tired of possessions weighing you down? Here are seven ways to declutter painlessly and effectively.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet
11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet

It’s scandalously easy to overspend in these areas of your life.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

9 Dumb Ways You Are Ruining Your Home Value
9 Dumb Ways You Are Ruining Your Home Value

Homeowners, beware these mistakes that can drive away potential buyers.

5 Ways Joe Biden Wants Social Security to Change
5 Ways Joe Biden Wants Social Security to Change

Here’s where Biden — as well as Trump — stands on the future of the Social Security retirement system.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing food supply. Is your pantry prepared?

21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store
21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store

Dollar stores have great bargains on both everyday and occasional purchases.

15 Outrageously Overpriced Products — and How to Save on Them
15 Outrageously Overpriced Products — and How to Save on Them

Retailers mark up products by hundreds of times their cost — but you don’t have to pay the premium.

18 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
18 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

Why Half of Retirees Now Owe Taxes on Social Security
Why Half of Retirees Now Owe Taxes on Social Security

Growing numbers of seniors are paying taxes on their Social Security benefits, but you might be able to avoid this fate.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.