Text scams become more prevalent each year, and bank scams are among the most common types. During the first half of 2023, 78 billion robotexts led to approximately $13 billion in American consumer losses, marking a $4 billion increase over the same period in 2022. More than 363 million of these robotexts were bank scams.
Bank text scammers often pretend to be trustworthy financial institutions like Wells Fargo, Citibank, Chase, or Bank of America. Some also pose as popular payment apps that connect to bank accounts, like Venmo. Regardless of which company they use as a disguise, these scammers aim to steal money and personal information from unwitting customers who think they’re interacting with legitimate businesses.
Text scams can lead to financial loss, identity theft, and lingering psychological damage. Read on and learn how to recognize and secure yourself against Wells Fargo text scams.
Wells Fargo sometimes communicates with customers via text message, so it’s crucial to be able to tell a scam message from the real thing. Keep in mind that Wells Fargo will never send you marketing texts or ask for your Social Security number, PIN, or online banking password via text. Learn about the following common Wells Fargo text scams to avoid the scammers’ traps.
A common banking text scam “warns” you of a fake transaction. The text may come from an unknown number, claiming to be Wells Fargo and asking you to respond with “YES” or “NO” if you did or didn’t authorize the charge. The message may include fake transaction details like dates, locations, and the first part of your card number (note that all Wells Fargo debit cards start with the same four digits: 4342).
If you respond, someone posing as a Wells Fargo employee will call you and attempt to solicit your personal information. If you’re notified of a transaction you haven’t authorized, access your account through the official Wells Fargo website or app to see if it actually exists.
Being locked out of your bank account is a cause for urgency, which makes it a popular premise for bank scammers. An unsolicited text from an unknown number may claim your account has been locked and prompt you to click a link to regain access. However, the link directs you to a fake Wells Fargo website that steals your personal information. Clicking the link may also download malware onto your device and give scammers access to your data.
Wells Fargo would not use text messaging to inform you about a lock on your bank account. You can quickly find out if your Wells Fargo account has really been locked by logging in securely online or via the app.
Much like being locked out of your account, finding out someone else is trying to get in can be alarming. In this scam, the fraudster texts you about suspicious or unauthorized account access. They may claim there were excessive login attempts or that your account was accessed from an unrecognized device or location. The text will include a link to click or a phone number to call to “secure your account.” Both connect you to the scammer, who will ask you for private information.
If you’ve enrolled in mobile updates, you may get text alerts about unauthorized account access. However, if you get this type of message without previously consenting to mobile alerts, contact Wells Fargo at a publicly listed number and change your password.
One type of Wells Fargo text scam claims there was unusual activity on your card. The fake alert may report expensive purchases that don’t match your spending habits, charges from faraway places, or other signs of potential fraud. The text contains a link or phone number that can supposedly help you file a fraud report, change your password, or order a new card. It may also ask for financial information to process a new card.
Don’t click the link, reveal financial information, or even respond when you receive an unexpected text that claims to be from Wells Fargo. If you’re given a phone number, call the bank at an official number instead of the one included in the text.
Watch out for imposter Wells Fargo texts that prompt you to update your account information. They may claim they’re responding to a password reset request or pretend it’s a routine notification to improve security. The text may encourage you to click a link rather than change your password through the app or website.
Never reveal or attempt to change your Wells Fargo account information by responding to a text. Only update your login credentials using the official website or app. If you’ve clicked a suspicious link, do not enter your information.
Scammers try to catch their victims off guard, relying on the element of surprise to help pull off their schemes. However, if you know how to recognize the red flags of a smishing attack, you may see through the ruse. Get to know the following signs of a Wells Fargo text scam.
Text scams can become dangerous as soon as you interact with them. Knowing how to handle these ploys can help you avoid severe financial consequences. Follow the steps below if you receive a Wells Fargo text scam.
If you’ve clicked a link or given away information to a Wells Fargo text scam, it’s vital to act quickly. Responding immediately may minimize the damage and preserve your money and identity.
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You may get legitimate text messages from Wells Fargo, but only if you’ve signed up for mobile alerts. You can get text alerts about recent deposits, upcoming payments, suspicious activity, and more by logging in online, adding your phone number, and customizing your notifications. If you haven’t consented to receive text messages, don’t trust unexpected messages that claim to be from Wells Fargo.
The real Wells Fargo only sends text messages to those who have signed up for alerts. Legitimate Wells Fargo texts come from short codes like 93557 (WELLS), 93733, 93729, and 93236, not 10-digit phone numbers. Wells Fargo does not send marketing text messages and will never ask for personal information like PINs and online banking passwords by text or phone call.
If you’ve received a Wells Fargo text scam and given away personal information, clicked a suspicious link, or sent a payment, call Wells Fargo at 1-866-867-5568. You can also forward suspicious emails and text messages to email@example.com, notify the FTC and FCC, and file a police report with local law enforcement.
Wells Fargo debit and credit cards offer Zero Liability protection, which allows customers to be refunded for unauthorized card transactions. However, you must report unauthorized transactions immediately to be eligible for a refund.