6 Common Wells Fargo Phishing Email Scams

a red warning symbol on a computer screen

In today's digital age, scammers are relentless in targeting unsuspecting Wells Fargo customers with sophisticated email scams designed to steal sensitive information and defraud them. Research shows that being informed about these scams can reduce your chances of falling victim by 80%. As a Wells Fargo account holder, you need to remain vigilant and informed about these scams in order to safeguard your financial security, reports Fox News.

1. "Your Account is Locked" Scams

A fake Wells Fargo email #1

Recently, numerous Wells Fargo customers have reported receiving fraudulent emails claiming to be from Wells Fargo, alerting them that their account has been locked. Many recipients have noted that these emails contain numerous grammatical and punctuation errors, which serve as clear indicators of their illegitimacy. Furthermore, it is evident that the sender of the above email lacks a fundamental understanding of how bank accounts operate.

However, the deception does not end there. Allow me to shed some light on the intricacies of this deceitful scheme. Emails support HTML, enabling the destination of a link to differ from the displayed text, also known as anchor text or link text. In the case of the above email, clicking on the link www.wellsfargo.com/verify will actually redirect you to a phishing website. This manipulation of displayed text can be highly misleading, as demonstrated by the use of www.wellsfargo.com/verify as the anchor text for the phishing link.

2. "You Have a New Online Document" Scams

A fake Wells Fargo email #2

This email was sent on December 14, 2023, seemingly with the intention of scamming someone ahead of Christmas. The recipient noticed a discrepancy in the email's content. While the Wells Fargo logo is hyperlinked to WellsFargo.com, the anchor text "wellsfargo.com/documents" is not. This raises suspicions about the email's legitimacy. There are other red flags as well. Firstly, the email claims to be from "Wells Fargo Fraud Detection," but it fails to provide any fraudulent alerts. Secondly, the sender's address ends with .de, indicating that it originates from Germany.

In an attempt to appear genuine, the sender advises the recipient to refer to their account statement for contact information, but conveniently includes a "Contact Us" link at the bottom of the email. The scammer is aware that the recipient may be tempted to click on the "Contact Us" or "wellsfargo.com/documents" links for convenience, rather than taking the time to review their account statement. Do not be deceived by this scheme.

3. "Your Account Has Been Suspended" Scams

A fake Wells Fargo email #3

Beware of emails claiming to be from Wells Fargo that address you as "Dear Valued Customer." Genuine emails from Wells Fargo will use your name. Scammers often use fake Wells Fargo letterheads to send phishing emails, pretending that your account has been suspended. These emails may ask you to click on a link and provide sensitive banking information, such as credit card numbers and CVV codes. 

Remember, Wells Fargo will never ask for account details or credit card numbers through emails. Avoid sharing this information online and be cautious about clicking on links or downloading attachments from suspicious emails unless you are certain about the sender's authenticity.

4. Wells Fargo Survey Scams

A fake Wells Fargo Survey email

Be cautious of emails claiming to be from Wells Fargo and urging you to take a brief questionnaire. These emails often offer the chance to win money in exchange for your time. Although the email may appear legitimate, there is one clear warning sign: the survey link provided does not lead to the official Wells Fargo website but rather directs you to a fraudulent site set up by scammers.

The counterfeit webpage and initial questions may appear convincing, but here's the trick: in order to receive your alleged reward, the scammers will request sensitive information like your Wells Fargo User ID and password, card details, Social Security number, and more. This should immediately raise concerns.

Even if you don't immediately fall for the scam and click on the survey link, you will eventually realize it's a phishing attempt when they ask for this personal information. Remember, Wells Fargo would never solicit such sensitive data via email or online surveys.

5. False fraud alerts

an example of a Wells Fargo False fraud alert

Beware of this prevalent email scam in the US: A message claiming that your Wells Fargo account has been compromised by an unrecognized device. To regain access, you must verify your identity. These fraudulent emails often provide a phone number or direct you to a counterfeit website, where scammers attempt to extract sensitive information from unsuspecting victims.

As you would have noticed, these are the most obvious red flags within the above email:
  • The bank name "Inc WellsFargo" is non-existent in the United States.
  • Instead of addressing you by name, the email impersonally refers to you as "Dear Client."
Moreover, the presence of numerous grammatical errors is highly unusual for a reputable company.

Bellow is another hilarious false Wells Fargo fraud alert with so many grammatical errors.

an example of a false bank fraud alert with so many grammatical errors

I know you would never fall for this one but sadly, some people have.

6. "Wells Fargo Claims Assistance Center" Scams

A year ago, someone shared this screenshot on Reddit. They claimed to have been receiving emails from Wells Fargo, even though they hadn't filed any recent claims. According to the recipient, they contacted Wells Fargo and were told that it might be a phishing scam. However, this is a typical Wells Fargo phishing email tactic. The scammers inform the recipient in advance that they will receive a call or another email shortly. 

These emails usually don't contain links or phone numbers to make them seem more authentic. In the image above, you can see that the scammers urge the recipient to promptly respond to any calls or correspondence. The goal of this email is to make the recipient anticipate a call from Wells Fargo. When the scammers eventually call and request sensitive information, the unsuspecting recipient might fall for it due to their expectation of a call from Wells Fargo.

How to spot (and avoid falling victim to) Wells Fargo phishing emails

If you receive an email like the ones mentioned above, pay close attention to the formatting. Wells Fargo emails generally follow a consistent format, regardless of the content. Look out for any unusual or threatening language, as shown in the last example. Also, be cautious of urgent requests. Scammers often create a sense of urgency to pressure victims into making poor choices. Normally, banks don't impose time limits for responses and will attempt to contact you through different methods. 

If an email claiming to be from Wells Fargo includes links and attachments, treat it with extreme suspicion. Most importantly, avoid clicking on any links or downloading attachments from these emails.

Wells Fargo provides various reporting channels based on your situation:
  • Call 866-867-5568 if you clicked on a link or opened an attachment.
  • Call 800-869-3557 if you have shared personal information.

Even if you didn't fall victim to the scam, it's still important to send a copy of the email to reportphish@wellsfargo.com.

If you believe you have been targeted by fraud, follow these steps:
  • Log in to your online bank account.
  • Update your passwords.
  • Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA).
  • Sign up for Wells Fargo's security alerts to receive notifications about suspicious account activity.
  • Strengthen the security measures across all your online accounts.

Next, file a complaint with the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. If you suspect that your identity is at risk, file a complaint at IdentityTheft.gov. Both of these platforms will forward your information to law enforcement and assist you with next steps. In fact, Identitytheft.gov even provides sample letters that you can provide to your bank.
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