Wells Fargo: Identity Theft Stories & ATM Skimmers

Submitted by Keith843

Over the last two weeks, I went to my local Wells Fargo bank branch twice to place electronic wire orders. These wires usually take a little time to complete and I was in the branch for approximately 20 minutes each time I visited. The banker did all the work of inputting the information I provided from a print out while I was left staring at the back of the banker’s Dell monitor. My mind, searching for something to do, focused on the goings on in the bank.

On my first visit I overheard a young woman (mid 20’s) talking with several tellers and a banker. The gist of the conversation was that the woman had received an email requesting her to send money by wire. She claimed the recipient would then be able to access some frozen bank account with a large balance which they would in turn split with her.

She asked the teller if this seemed like a legitimate scenario because a follow-up email asked her to send money to China.

The banker told her that this was very likely a scam and that if she sent money from her own account to the recipient that there was nothing they could do to protect her.

Obviously, the woman had almost fallen for a 419 scam (but based out of China instead of Nigeria).

The woman graciously declined to wire any money and I could tell from the look on her face that she was a little embarrassed from being almost being duped.

One week later, I was in the same Wells Fargo bank branch and an elderly woman sitting with the banker at the desk next to my banker’s was closing her account and opening a new one due to someone gaining access to her account. It became obvious that there was a lot of money in her account as there were two bankers helping and assuring her of the new account’s safety.

I wondered out loud if there is a lot of identity theft related crimes at Wells Fargo.

My banker rolled her eyes and answered “unfortunately, there is really a lot of that going on.”

I had just seen this video on ATM skimmers:

So I asked her if she had heard of any of their ATMs having skimming devices attached to them. She gave me a blank look and finally said, “I don’t know. What do you mean?”

I explained how a small skimming device is placed over a legitimate ATM’s card slot and how it collects credit card data which thieves later use to steal money from the cardholders account. She had not heard of ATM skimmers.

Frankly, her answer was a little unnerving coming from someone in her position at a bank as large and well respected as Wells Fargo.

I don’t have any wires which I need to go to the bank branch for again anytime soon, but I will certainly be sending her a link to the skimming video above.

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