We Were Victims Of Fraud…And Why Wells Fargo Doesn’t Care About Their Customers!

by Khaleef "Fat Guy" Crumbley on September 3, 2012

in Finance

We were recently victims of fraud and our bank (Wells Fargo) doesn’t care. My wife originally wrote this post and I decided to interject my comments in it as well. The black text represents her words, and my words will be in this maroon color.

Victims of Wells Fargo Debit Card Fraud

Wells Fargo Debit Card Fraud

About a month ago, my husband was looking over our Wells Fargo statement and noticed a couple fraudulent charges to our checking account. The charge was a reoccurring one from Experian that was deducted automatically for 2 months. He went to the local branch, and was told that he needed to contact Experian for more detail. He was able to find out that it was my debit card number that was used, but that was the extent of the information he could receive from them.

When I went to the bank the first time, I was actually told that it was MY debit card number that made the transactions. That was the only information that the customer service representative at the bank was able to tell me.

I then called Experian and gave them my debit card number, they were not able to find any account or transaction in their system. After examining the transaction detail on the statement more closely, I saw that the debt card number (the one that the bank CSR said was mine) didn’t match the card in my wallet! After talking to my wife, we figured out that this number belonged to the temporary card that they gave us when we first opened the account.

What we also realized is that the temporary card was sitting in our safe and had never been used – at least not by us. That means that whoever used the number either stole the permanent card in the mail and somehow activated it without having our personal information, or the number was stolen by a Wells Fargo employee!!!

Wells Fargo Debit Card Fraud – The Frustration Is Building

I went with him back to the bank, and spoke to a Customer Service person who was not much help.  We knew we would have to contact Experian to reverse the charges, but was hoping she would be able to do something considering that I have NEVER used the card before, and never activated the card that I didn’t receive in the mail (I had the temporary card we received upon opening the account), and informed her.

I understand that it is standard to be treated like the victim’s story is dubious in cases like these, since that’s the same thing I experienced years ago when I was a victim of identity theft, but with the information we gave, we were hopeful the bank would at least be interested in finding the source of this breach.

She checked my card usage, and lightened up on the suspiciousness once she realized I was telling the truth and neither activated the card they were supposed to send, nor had any activity on the card outside of the Experian charges.

STILL, she directed us, as if we were 3 year olds, to contact Experian first, and when they refund the account, she will cancel my card.

What was annoying was that it seemed as if she wasn’t even listening to what we were saying to her. We were trying to give her as much information as possible so she (or the bank’s fraud unit) could investigate the fraudulent charges further. Instead, she kept telling us that we had to call Experian and demand that they remove the charges. She even tried to coach us on what to say as if we needed her help in that area!!! She told us how Experian would refuse, but we would have to stand our ground.

I guess she didn’t hear the part of our story when I told her that Experian said they would be more than happy to remove the charges, but I would need to give them the full card number (which I didn’t know at the time of the first call, since the Wells Fargo csr told me that it was really my card) and have the cardholder (my wife) call.

Maybe she also didn’t hear the part of the card being in our safe and never being used. We told her that we were fine with making the call and having Experian take care of the charges, but we were more interested in how someone got a hold of our card number in the first place! Unfortunately, she didn’t seem interested in that.

Experian Wouldn’t Even Help!

Calling Experian and getting refunded was a pretty easy, straight forward process. The person I spoke to would not let me know the full name of the individual who committed the fraud. They just closed her account and refunded my money.

I asked the representative what repercussions there would be for the criminal, and I was told that closing that account was all.

Can you believe that? Someone created an account using our debit card to pay for it, and the only thing they are going to do is close the account?!?! Here is the ironic part: The person fraudulently used our debit card number in order to purchase a CREDIT REPORT MONITOR!!! Yes, she purchased a service that will monitor her credit report for fraudulent charges! I wish I was making this up.

Even if the person who ordered this service wasn’t the one who originally stole our card number, I am sure they could have found out how she got that number with a simple investigation. I honestly can’t believe that a major credit reporting bureau will not conduct an investigation into this clear case of fraud.

Wells Fargo Does Not Seem Interested In Protecting Their Customers!

I called Wells Fargo after the money was returned and canceled the card. I explain to that representative that under the circumstances the breach had to have come from someone within their bank, or someone able to hack into their bank, and questioned what they would do about it. Once again, I received an unsatisfactory answer that let me know that nothing further would be done.

To me, this response by Wells Fargo is even more disgusting than that of Experian. It should be clear that the breach was either the result of a thief working for Wells Fargo, or a thief having access to their system. Oh, I should add that the representative for the bank checked the system and assured us that the permanent card had never been activated…that is why we are so sure it was completely the bank’s fault!

You know what: Since neither one of us is a private investigator, we can’t be 100% sure that this was the result of either a thief or bad system at Wells Fargo. However, we feel that we have provided the bank with enough evidence to make an extremely strong case, and they should be willing to track this down in order to ensure the financial security of their customers and also their own reputation!

Considering that someone my husband worked with faced a similar situation with the same bank, I would have felt more comfortable knowing my case would be noted and given some attention. I am unhappy that a criminal has gotten off scott free, and that I have no assurance that this will not happen again.

I am extremely upset that the bank won’t take a look at this charge. All they were interested in was telling us that the merchant had to issue the refund (which we already knew). Someone really just broke into our account and the bank won’t do anything about it. They didn’t even offer to give us a new card with a new number…we had to request that they cancel the old one and replace it!

I am glad that we only use this bank to pay one bill per month (we transfer our rent directly into our landlord’s account), because there is no way that I could accept this from my main banks.

Reader Questions

  1. Is there any way to get Wells Fargo to investigate this instance of fraud on our account?
  2. Have you ever had something like this happen to you?
  3. Have you had ANY bad experiences with Wells Fargo?

photo credit: Freedigitalphotos.net

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Lance @ Money Life and More September 3, 2012 at 10:21 am

I am not a fan of Wells Fargo either. I almost never use debit cards and keep next to no money in my checking accounts. I use my CC because they will fight on my behalf unlike banks.

Fat Guy September 4, 2012 at 12:53 pm

We never use debit cards online (or at gas stations) for that reason. This one was even worse since we never used or activated the permanent card, and the temporary one was locked in a safe. I can’t believe they won’t look into this on their end.

Brad Chaffee September 3, 2012 at 1:56 pm

We had some trouble with Wells Fargo back in he day but nothing as serious as fraud. They didn’t have very good customer service so I’m not surprised that they haven’t done more to help you. Just another big bank that treats their customers like an account number instead of a customer. That’s the main reason we left Bank of America — HORRIBLE customer service.

Glad you guys got refunded but I would be very nervous about my account after learning that they are not very interested in how someone gained access to your account.

Fat Guy September 4, 2012 at 12:54 pm

It’s funny because BoA is our main personal bank (I use Capital One for business). lol

I just can’t believe that they wouldn’t want to insure that other customers don’t have to go through something much worse than we did…especially if it’s by the hands of one of their employees!

Brad Chaffee September 4, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Haha! Yeah we’ve had bad experiences with both BoA and Capital One. we switched to Perkstreet and the UVA Community Credit Union. for my printing business I gave Suntrust a shot but I have not been happy there either but it’s nowhere near as bad as BoA was (for us). The only thing we liked about BoA was the customer features and services but the customer service was definitely sub-par.

I also can’t believe Wells Fargo won’t step up to the plate to at least make sure you feel comfortable using them in the future. If it’s happened to you and your wife I’m sure it’s happened to others too. It’s not like you’re asking them to land on Neptune. You just want security and your bank to care about that security. They apparently don’t.

See you soon my friend! 😀

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