Zombie accounts could be a real nightmare for investors

Personal Finance


Consumers should take several steps to make sure that old accounts that are reopened or fraudulent accounts that are created don’t haunt them.

First, pull a report from ChexSystems, a specialty consumer reporting agency. Like agencies that provide free credit reports, such as Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, ChexSystems will provide consumers with a free report once a year. Unlike reports from traditional credit agencies, the ChexSystems report will show activity on bank accounts that have been opened in your name.

Next, consumers need to be sure to check their monthly statements for any activity they do not recognize. By accessing that information online, consumers can track that information in real time.

“If there’s an account that’s created without your authorization, you might be able to see it online,” Tumin said.

Other warning signs that consumers should watch out for, according to the CFPB, include money missing from your accounts, bills you do not recognize and incorrect information on credit reports, including balances that don’t match up or accounts you did not open.

Consumers who notice any of these activities should notify their bank or financial institution right away, according to the CFPB. They should also consider putting a security freeze on their credit report or setting up fraud alerts.

“If you see anything out of the ordinary on your financial statements or credit reports, no matter how small, you should take action immediately,” according to a blog post on the CFPB’s website.



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