It is too easy to open a bank account. If a thief gets your name and social security number, most banks will let them open an account using whatever address the thief gives. The thief transfers funds into that account from someone else’s hacked account and then draws the money out at an ATM. When the authorities investigate, the path leads back to you. You can do something about that.
Most banks use a credit bureau that specializes in giving them information about customers who wish to open a new account. Unlike general credit bureaus, this company just gives any negative information about past accounts of the person applying for the new account. This includes things like over drafting the account, ATM abuse, and the like. It does not give information about things like credit card payments, car loans, department store accounts, mortgages, or personal loans. The name of the company is Chex Systems.
You can tell Chex Systems to not give out any information unless you authorize it. So when a bank asks Chex Systems for a report, Chex Systems tells them you have put a hold on your information. The bank must then contact you to lift the hold temporarily. That way you will always know if a bank is about to open an account in your name. Chex Systems gives you a nine digit PIN that you can enter on the Chex Systems web site to lift the hold.
One thing to keep in mind is that putting the hold on may delay your ability to open new accounts. The hold is not fool-proof. Some banks may not use Chex Systems.
If you believe it is possible someone may try to open a fraudulent account in your name, go to ConsumerDebit.com and click on the Security Freeze link to read more about the hold and place one. Make sure you spell ConsumerDebit.com with an i in debit or you will go to a web site that wants to fix your credit for a fee. Chex Systems hold does not cost anything.
I do not have any financial or other interest in Chex Systems. I am offering this information as a public service, and do not endorse the company.