Wells Fargo fallout: why you should check your account history

CREDIT: AP
CREDIT: AP

It’s been one week since the government accused Wells Fargo employees of setting up unauthorized accounts in clients names.

Now consumer advocates are urging you to make sure you haven’t been charged for services you never approved.

7 News spoke with a Spartanburg man who went through the process of cancelling one. His message: read every piece of mail.

About a month ago Ernie Gans got a letter from Wells Fargo thanking him for opening a Quicken account.

“Immediately I said, something’s wrong because I didn’t open it, and I got frustrated because when I called and I said, I didn’t open this, cancel it, they said, well we can’t do that. I said, what do you mean you can’t do that, you opened it? Why can’t you close it. That’s when they transferred me the first time to fraud,” he said.

Gans says the fraud department kept him on the line for nearly 45 minutes asking him to verify every account, address and big purchase in his financial history.

“They put the emphasis on me as I should be putting emphasis on my computer, I should be changing my password, indicating like it’s my problem. And after watching the world news, my opinion is it’s their problem.”

Last week The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined Wells Fargo $185 million dollars accusing employees of illegally opening millions of unauthorized accounts to meet aggressive sales goals.

In a statement Wells Fargo says it regrets and takes responsibility for what happened. As part of the settlement it will need to pay back customers and hire an independent consultant for review.

Tom Maynard, a Finance and Law instructor at Converse says clients need to go back in their history to look for fraudulent charges.

“I would be looking at my bank statement carefully for charges and with the regular snail mail we get, I’d be more careful about opening those things and looking at it and seeing what is it, and do I need to take some action,” said Maynard.

Gans says he’s glad he opened the notice since he admits he likely would have missed the $3 monthly charge.

“Unless you’re really vigilant, you could be in trouble,” said Gans.

Wells Fargo says it fired more than 5,000 employees over a five year period to combat what it calls inappropriate sales conduct. And this week it also scrapped sales goals at its retail banking operation.

The bank encourages any customers with concerns or questions to contact them.

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