Wells Fargo is one of the largest multinational financial companies with offices throughout the U.S. and the world, which unfortunately has resulted in various Wells Fargo scams.
Wells Fargo was founded over a century and a half ago in 1852 by Henry Wells and William G. Fargo (who also founded American Express) to provide express and banking services to the state of California. The express part of the business involved using their famous stagecoaches to deliver money and valuables across the country, and the stagecoach became a symbol of the company.
In the early 1900s, Wells Fargo separated the banking and express divisions of the company, and the bank kept growing. In the 20th and 21st centuries, Wells Fargo acquired and merged with many other institutions, including the personal trust division of Bank of America, First Interstate Bancorp, Wachovia, and more. Wells Fargo was also the first major U.S. bank to offer internet banking in 1995.
Because Wells Fargo is a well-known company, scammers commonly use the Wells Fargo name in their attempts to steal money from their victims. Here are some common Wells Fargo scams you should be aware of.
Phishing scammers attempt to obtain your Wells Fargo account details or other sensitive information through an email, text, or phone call. These messages may look like they came from Wells Fargo.
The email, text, or person on the phone will claim that there have been issues with your Wells Fargo account and that you need to log in immediately to fix the problem. A text or email will contain a link to a site that looks like the official Wells Fargo website but is not. If you enter your Wells Fargo username and password on the fake site, the scammer will steal this information, and your bank account will be at risk.
In these Wells Fargo scams, the scammer uses a sense of urgency or danger to convince the target to deposit money using a Wells Fargo ATM. A common technique that targets grandparents specifically is claiming that the victim's grandchildren are in grave danger and need money to help them out of the emergency.
The scammer then tells the victim to go to a Wells Fargo ATM to deposit money to help out their grandchildren. Many of these victims aren't even customers of the bank. The scammer then gives the victim an access code that they got from the Wells Fargo banking app and PIN that allows the victim to deposit the money directly into the scammer's bank account without an ATM card.
With this scam, the scammer will claim that they represent Wells Fargo when they are actually an imposter. This scammer will have obtained your banking information through a data breach, by buying your banking details from the dark web, or by some other means. So, they will already have various pieces of information about you. They will then call or text you and claim there has been suspicious activity on your account, and you will need to verify a code that will be sent to you via text.
The scammer will be attempting to log in to your Wells Fargo account at the time, and the code you receive will be from Wells Fargo verifying that attempt. Once you say the code over the phone, the scammer will be able to use the code to access your account and money.
In this scam, the scammer will try to convince you to deposit a fake Wells Fargo check into your account. The goal of these fake check scammers is always the same. Have you deposit the check and send some of the money back to them.
For example, the scammer may tell you that the check is the payment to wrap your car with advertising and then ask you to use some of it to pay a person to do the work. Or the scammer may try to purchase something from you, write the check for more than the purchase price, and ask for the difference back in cash. But since the check is fake, you will be out any of that money you give back.
You can prevent yourself from falling for Wells Fargo scams by looking out for red flags of scams and following these best practices:
If you are contacted by a scammer using the Wells Fargo name or fall victim to one of these scams, here are some of the things you can do.
If you receive a phishing email or text, you should forward it to [email protected] and then delete it. You will get an automated response from this email, and Wells Fargo will review your email and take action.
If you are a victim of one of these Wells Fargo scams and gave the scammer your login details or login code for your Wells Fargo account, then contact Wells Fargo at 1-866-867-5568 immediately. They may be able to help you get your account back in your control and out of the scammer's hands.
If you are a victim of a Wells Fargo imposter login code scam, you may still have time to change your password at the official Wells Fargo website to prevent any further damage to your account.
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