Phantom [Accounts] of the Opera

By Becky Clapes, Guest Blogger

Unfortunately, it is possible for scam artists to open bank accounts and credit card accounts in your name. According to Alert Investor one of the more common forms of financial fraud is when a scam artist steals your information and opens credit card and bank accounts in your name. Below are several ways to monitor your accounts to both avoid this happening to you as well as where to report fraud if you see it on your account.

Through the Fair Credit Reporting Act, it is possible for you to get one free check every 12 months to ensure the accuracy of your account information. Taking advantage of this free service allows you to stay informed about any possible breaches of your information.

Additionally, Annual Credit is the only website authorized to provide free credit reports with each of the three major United States credit bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. You have two options: access all of the reports at once, or access one report at a time. The reports will inform you of your credit history, any inquiries made into your credit, a summary of any negative information on file, personal information, and a summary of any dispute file information.

Any small errors in your account could be a sign of fraud, even ones as small as a wrong address or date of birth. Be sure to contact your credit reporting agency if you notice something on your account that your do not recognize or is incorrect. You can also report suspected identity theft with the Federal Trade Commission.

In addition to requesting your free credit report, you can request a free annual report from ChexSystems which reports on both credit and annual banking.

Those these are not perfect solutions, they are an immense help in monitoring your accounts and ensuring their safety.