5 Wells Fargo Text and Phone Call Scam Stories To Learn From

A hand holding a smartphone with a chat bubble and a warning sign on the screen.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), more Americans fell victim to text message scams in 2022, losing over $330 million. The FTC's Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book reported that Americans lost a staggering $10 billion to scams in 2023. As one of the largest banks in the United States, Wells Fargo customers are prime targets for scammers who typically initiate contact through text messages followed by fraudulent phone calls. Recently, numerous Wells Fargo customers have reported being deceived by these fraudulent texts and calls. In light of this, I have compiled a collection of these stories in the hopes that you can glean valuable insights and protect yourself from becoming a victim.

1. A woman spoke out after she was hit by a Wells Fargo text scam

On May 9, 2023, Fox LA reported a story to warn the community. A Wells Fargo customer, Katie Callaway, fell victim to a sophisticated text scam and lost thousands of dollars. What makes this case stand out is that Katie is not your average scam victim - she's a tech-savvy millennial.

It all started with a seemingly innocent text message, followed by a convincing phone call. The caller ID displayed Wells Fargo's official customer service line, making it seem legitimate. But don't be fooled - scammers can easily fake numbers to make it look like they're calling from your bank.

"I've spoken with Wells Fargo in the past where they needed to confirm my identity, so it seemed very standard procedure," Callaway tells the local outlet.

Katie, who is familiar with the bank's number, didn't suspect a thing. The person on the other end sounded professional and managed to trick her into believing there were fraudulent charges on her account. She fell for it and confirmed her identity through a text message, unknowingly authorizing a $4,200 wire transfer.

To make matters worse, Katie was hit with additional wire transfer fees. Despite her efforts to explain the situation to the bank, their policies held her responsible for the online wires, leaving her unable to recover the money.

Now, Katie is sharing her story in the hopes of preventing others from falling into the same trap.

2. The story of a Wells Fargo customer who lost thousands in a Zelle scam

Scams have been rampant on the widely-used Zelle quick pay app in recent years. In response, Zelle has committed to enhancing security measures and even providing reimbursement to customers who fall prey to imposter scams.

While some view this as a positive initial action, it unfortunately did not prevent a Bay Area woman from losing a substantial amount of money.

Eileen Loughran of San Francisco found herself in a state of shock when she realized all her funds had vanished. "When all my money was gone, all of a sudden the scammer's phone went dead. And I went, Oh my God," she recounted to ABC7 News.

Loughran was still struggling to come to terms with the situation. "I thought everything, the text message, everything seemed completely legitimate," she explained.

She received a text message that appeared to be from Wells Fargo, inquiring if she had authorized a $957 transaction through Zelle. After responding negatively, she received a call from someone claiming to be from Wells Fargo's fraud department, who even provided the name of a real bank employee.

The caller convinced Loughran that her debit card was being misused and advised her to transfer money back into her account through the Zelle app, which she had never used before. Despite her initial hesitation, she ended up making eight transfers totaling $3,500, the maximum daily limit for Zelle transactions.

Upon realizing she had been scammed, Loughran contacted Wells Fargo, who confirmed her suspicions. Unfortunately, this same scam has affected numerous individuals across the country.

This story was published by abc7 News on March 1, 2024.

Watch the video below:

3. A Phoenix, Arizona woman warns of a Wells Fargo text scam that cost her $2,000

It all began with a single text message, as reported by AZ Family on Aug. 29, 2023. Kelsey Herrett was in the midst of her workday when she received a message that seemed urgent and immediately captured her attention. The text inquired, "Wells Fargo Alerts. Did you authorize a $4,427.10 wire or quick pay to Alice Rear? Reply yes, no, or text stop to opt out," recounted Herrett.

Without hesitation, Herrett responded with a firm "no." Little did she know that this simple response would lead her into the trap of a scammer. "Within a split second, my phone rang," she recalled. "I answered, assuming it was a Wells Fargo representative informing me of unusual account activity and the need for verification steps."

Upon checking, Herrett confirmed that the number matched Wells Fargo's customer service line. Unbeknownst to her, the number had been spoofed, and the call was not genuine. The caller proceeded to instruct Herrett to transfer her funds to a purportedly secure new bank account. "He reassured me by stating, 'As a Wells Fargo agent, I will never ask you to disclose passwords or specific login information,'" Herrett shared. "His words made me feel at ease and secure."

Following the caller's guidance, Herrett received a case number, a designated case manager, a new account number, and a new routing number. Despite the seeming legitimacy of the instructions, none of the information provided was authentic. "Looking back, I realize that I followed every instruction given to me. The caller coached me through the process, creating an illusion of credibility," she admitted. Consequently, Herrett transferred nearly $2,000 from her account directly into the hands of the scammer.

On a side note, do not to fall victim to such scams, regardless of how convincing the caller may appear. If you receive a suspicious text or call claiming to be from Wells Fargo, refrain from responding. Instead, contact Wells Fargo directly through verified and legitimate channels, such as the phone number on your card, wellsfargo.com, or the Wells Fargo Mobile app.

4. Nebraska woman loses $20,000 to a Wells Fargo text scam

Fraud victim Jackie has taken the necessary step of filing a police report, but she is seeking additional assistance from a credit service that specializes in working with banks. This decision comes after Jackie discovered an unauthorized withdrawal from her account.

Upon realizing that $20,000 had been taken from her husband's account, Jackie immediately suspected foul play. She recalls turning to her husband and expressing her concern that they had been hacked. The unauthorized money transfer occurred shortly after Jackie received a call that appeared to be from Wells Fargo.

Despite Jackie's assurance that she did not disclose her account username or password, the scammer managed to obtain an authorization code for the wire transfer by sending her a series of text messages with numbers to read back. Following the incident, Jackie promptly reported the unauthorized withdrawal to Wells Fargo.

Marcia Obert, Jackie's advisor from Nebraska Debt Relief, is assisting her in navigating this challenging situation. They are questioning why the bank was unable to prevent the wire transfer or retrieve the funds within 24 hours of the incident.

In response to the situation, a Wells Fargo spokesperson has stated that the bank is committed to supporting scam victims and will conduct a thorough investigation into the matter. Jackie is eagerly awaiting the outcome of this investigation, hoping that the bank will reimburse the $20,000 lost to the scam, reports 6 News.

Despite Jackie's efforts to stop the unauthorized transaction in a timely manner, the funds were already gone. This serves as a reminder that both banks and customers must remain vigilant in protecting their accounts from fraudulent activities.

Wells Fargo Fraud Executive Dan Cusick advises customers not to rely solely on caller ID, as scammers often spoof trusted numbers. Once a wire transfer is initiated, there is no guarantee that the funds can be recovered, as these transactions are immediate and irreversible.

5. California school teacher lost $20,000 after a scam phone call

According to a report by the US Sun on February 19, 2024, Ann Booras, a resident of San Ramon, California, found herself in a state of panic after receiving a phone call from an individual posing as a representative from Wells Fargo, claiming that her account had been compromised. Booras, a dedicated school teacher, received the call during the final exams of her students last summer.

In an interview with local ABC affiliate ABC7, Booras described feeling shaken and overwhelmed by the situation. The caller, using a fake caller ID, informed her that there was suspicious activity on her account, specifically an attempt to wire $20,000 from her savings.

Despite denying any involvement in the transaction, the caller insisted that it was a case of fraud and directed Booras to transfer the $20,000 to the bank's fraud department for safekeeping. Under duress, Booras followed the instructions provided by the scammer.

Unfortunately, the scam did not end there. The caller informed Booras of an additional unauthorized transfer of $5,000 from her account, prompting her to send another $5,000 to the supposed fraud department. Booras, feeling helpless and anxious, complied with the demands out of fear of losing all her money.

In a state of distress, Booras drove to her nearest Wells Fargo branch with the scammer still on the line. It was only when the bank teller discreetly alerted her to the deception that Booras realized she had fallen victim to a scam.

"I had tears streaming down my face, I was trembling because I had just unknowingly sent $25,000 to an unknown destination," Booras recounted.

Despite the shock of falling victim to a sophisticated scam, it was the response from the bank that truly surprised her.

After imploring bank staff to intervene by halting the transfers, she was reportedly informed that they were too preoccupied to assist.

Booras claimed that the tellers informed her, "I'm sorry, we're all occupied. We have appointments scheduled back-to-back. You'll need to visit another branch, as we are unable to assist you here."

"I was left speechless, how could they refuse to help me?" she expressed her frustration.

Ted Booras, Ann's husband, was equally dismayed by the situation.

"You have a woman who is on the verge of being defrauded, tears in her eyes, and you turn her away," he remarked.

By the time Booras reached another Wells Fargo branch, the $20,000 had disappeared.

Although a banker was able to prevent the $5,000 transfer, the majority of her funds were irretrievably lost.

Booras claimed that Wells Fargo rejected her reimbursement request on the grounds that she had technically authorized the payment.

She pointed out the irony of being told by a Wells Fargo employee over the phone that she would not be refunded, as "Wells Fargo would never contact you."


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