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Wells Fargo's funny business means keeping an eye on your credit score

Wells Fargo employees opened two million fraudulent accounts, sending shockwaves across Wall Street and Washington, and sending its stock price sinking.

Between 2011 and 2015, the bank's workers opened about 1.5 million bank accounts and 565 million credit card accounts in order to meet sales goals, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Less understood, however, is the impact on individual consumers. Could your credit score be impacted if any of those accounts are in your name?

"It could," Mark Hamrick, Senior Economic Analyst at Bankrate.com, told CNBC's "On the Money" in an interview.

"You've been given a wake-up call to say look at what is happening with your account." Hamrick said. "Which by the way, you should be doing all the time anyway."

What should you do if you suspect you could have an account illegally opened in your name?

"First of all, find out whether an account was opened that you didn't give permission for," Hamrick said, adding that it could be either a deposit account or a credit card account.

Hamrick suggests checking your account online and through bank statements, but also in person. "If you're near (a bank branch) feel free to go in and initiate a conversation with a real live human being."

Wells Fargo
Rick Wilking | Reuters
Wells Fargo

Since the scandal broke in September, the bank fired 5,300 employees and agreed to pay $185 million in federal and state fines. Meanwhile, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf has been forced to forfeit $41 million in unvested stock awards.

If you suspect your credit rating could be changed as a result of account activity you didn't initiate or know about, Hamrick recommends checking with the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.

"If I had learned that this had a negative impact on my credit I would absolutely, be in contact with the credit agencies and let them know this has had an impact," Hamrick said. "Ask them to consider that you were part of the Wells Fargo fraud. "

But if you want to change your account from large banks or find a bank alternative, Hamrick offered that "there are a lot of options out there." Those include smaller "community banks, credit unions, [and] online banks."

He says with some of the Web-based institutions, "you can just do business with using a smartphone."


On the Money airs on CNBC Saturday at 5:30 am ET, or check listings for air times in local markets.