To find out if someone opened a credit card in your name, get a copy of your credit report from all three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. You’ll be able to see all of the credit cards opened in your name on those reports. It’s important to check all three reports for fraudulent accounts, as each report might contain different information. Not all creditors report to all three bureaus, nor do they report under the same timeframes.
You can check your latest TransUnion credit report for free on WalletHub at any time.
If you suspect someone has opened a credit card in your name, freeze your credit reports with each of the three major credit bureaus as a precautionary measure. This will stop anyone from opening additional accounts in your name. Plus, credit freezes are free for victims of fraud. And they’ll be free for everyone starting in the fall of 2018.
Next, contact the card’s issuer to get some info about the account. If it turns out to be fraudulent, you’ll want to get the authorities involved. Contact the FTC to report the identity theft and establish a record of the incident. Then, use the record of your report to file a dispute with the credit bureaus and get the information taken off your credit reports.
Here’s how to find out if someone opened a credit card in your name:
1. Pull your credit reports. You can get your TransUnion credit report for free from WalletHub. That’s updated daily. You can also get your reports from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion once per year through annualcreditreport.com.
2. Check your reports in detail. Go through all the accounts listed on your credit reports and make sure they’re legitimate. Confirm the balances are accurate as well. If you see an account that you believe is fraudulent, you’ll need to file a dispute with the credit bureaus, contact the issuer and more.
3. Consider a credit freeze. This shuts off access to your credit report from anyone but you, preventing fraudsters from opening more accounts in your name. You will have to request a separate freeze for each of the three major credit bureaus, but it’s free for victims of fraud. If you wish to apply for credit, you can request a temporary lift of the freeze, even for just one lender.
4. Contact the credit card issuer. The final step in figuring out if someone opened a credit card in your name is to call the card’s issuer. Explain that you did not open the account and inquire as to the address and other information used to do so. Also, request that they suspend the account while it is under investigation. This will prevent a fraudster from running up more debt on an account in your name.
If the credit card’s issuer finds that the account is fraudulent, be sure to file an identity theft report with the FTC. You can also call their Consumer Response Center at 1 (877) 382-4357. In addition, make sure to dispute the account(and any other fraudulent information) on all three of your credit reports. Provide any documentation you get from the issuer and law enforcement to support your case. Until it’s removed from your credit reports, any negative information from the fraud will hurt your credit score.
You should take these steps as soon as you discover someone opened a credit card in your name. There are also a variety of things you can do to prevent similar incidents from occurring again. For example, you’d be wise to regularly review your credit card statements and credit reports as well as sign up for free 24/7 credit monitoring.