Wells Fargo & Co. is the third-largest bank in the United States of America. In 2016, the bank faced a scandal where it was revealed that employees have opened multiple accounts in the names of their existing customers. Along with this, there have also been scammers who have targeted the Wells Fargo business when creating new scams. This article discusses how the Wells Fargo scandal came about and the scams that scammers have created. We also discuss how victims recovered from the Wells Fargo scandal and how people can avoid Wells Fargo scams altogether.
Wells Fargo Scandal Overview
Before Wells Fargo’s exposure in 2016, employees have been opening credit accounts in customers’ names without their knowledge and consent since 2002. They forged signatures and secretly transferred money between accounts to keep up with the company’s pressure-cooker environment to produce sales.
Some store-level cases would have employees working extra hours or weekends to meet daily quotas. Employees who failed to meet performance standards faced termination, pushing them to do illegal methods. Some former employees stated that although managers and executives did not explicitly assign them illegal tasks, they encouraged it.
When this scandal got exposed, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reported that the bank’s employees opened 1,534,280 unauthorized deposit accounts. Later investigations in 2017 placed the estimated number of fraudulent accounts at almost 3.5 million.
In 2020, Wells Fargo admitted to pressuring its employees to meet unrealistic sales goals that led to fraudulent activities. The bank has since been facing several fines and settlements to cover damages.
Wells Fargo has since taken responsibility for its misconduct and has been paying fines and multiple settlements to provide financial compensation to its victims. The bank created a website to give its customers information about whether they created any fake accounts in their names and their eligibility for compensation. The CEO, Tim Sloan, was replaced by Charles Scharf after the scandal occurred.
Other Types of Wells Fargo Scams
Phishing Scams: A scammer creates a phishing email or text message claiming to be from Wells Fargo. They claim that you need to change your account information right away since there’s someone apparently trying to hack their account. The victim clicks on the link to change their account information but instead ends up giving their information to a scammer. This scammer logs into their account and drains their money.
Fake Check Scams: A scammer creates a fake check to send to the victim in response to purchasing something from them. This scammer calls their victim to let them know that they accidentally put too much money on the check. They request that you send them a portion of their check back after this mistake. The victim agrees to do this for them and withdrawals the money from the bank.
They send the scammer back the requested money, thinking they will keep the rest of the money. However, their bank calls to let them know it was a fake check. They request that the victim pays the money withdrawn back to the bank. The problem is that the victim already sent the scammer a portion of the money, and is now in the hole hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Wire Transfer Scams: Scammers will request that victims pay using a wire transfer or a gift card most of the time. Victims will go to Wells Fargo and request to wire transfer money to a scammer. The bank will take your money and send it to the requested person. Then, once the scammer gets the money, it is nearly impossible to trace the money back to the victim. This makes it nearly impossible for the victim to get their money back.
Robocall Scams: Scammers will call their victims and pretend to be customer service. They will tell their victims that someone is trying to hack into their account and they are calling to help. They request that the victim give them their bank account information so that they can help gain it back. However, once the scammers have this information, they hack into the victims’ accounts themselves and steal their money.
What Wells Fargo Scandal Victims Can Do
Wells Fargo agreed to pay every American state, the bank started a website for its customers to learn whether they are eligible for restitution or financial compensation. Minnesota State Attorney General Keith Ellison publicized the website in a statement in February 2019.
The Wells Fargo website provides comprehensive cases and issues that the settlement agreement covers so victims may understand their eligibility. The website also provides hotline numbers for consumers to contact representatives and have them review their cases.
How Victims Can Avoid Wells Fargo Scams
- If a scam looks too good to be true, then it probably is.
- Avoid get-rich-quick schemes.
- Don’t send any personal or financial information to anyone you don’t know.
- Be wary if someone claiming to be a Wells Fargo customer service representative calls or emails you.
- Don’t send money to anyone that you don’t know on the Internet using any method of payment.
- Be wary when clicking on links through emails. Go on the official website instead if you are suspicious about emails sent to you.
- Don’t send money back to someone who overpaid you using a check.
- Don’t give someone who calls you any information about your credit/debit cards or your account information.
- Report any scam that you have been a victim of to the FTC.
- Report fraudulent activity to your bank for a chance to recover some of your money back.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You!
At Social Catfish, we want to help you verify the identities of those who might seem suspicious to you. If you have their name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image, you can reverse search and see who the suspected person was that you’ve been in contact with if you think you’ve been a victim of these Wells Fargo scams.