This post is not an endorsement supporting Wells Fargo. In fact, I largely disapprove of Wells Fargo and think they’ve been up to some questionable activities in relation to my good-standing accounts. If it were up me, I’d love to see Wells Fargo fail miserably – but not at the expense of the average customer. The following is to help you, not them.
This afternoon, after filming a spot for MSNBC’s “Caught On Camera,” I drove into town to pick up a my daily espresso.
I received an incoming call from “BLOCKED,” but answered anyway. There was a pre-recorded voice stating something along the lines of: _This is Wells Fargo. Your bank card has been locked due to security reasons. Press ‘1’ to unlock your account.” I did not press ‘1’ – and the call disconnected after I pressed ‘0’ (just to see). Even if it did go through, I wouldn’t have given any information to the caller.
It certainly sounded like an automated recording, leading me to believe that this operation (if criminal in nature) was scalable and widespread. These criminals would be spending next to nothing to gain access to untold amounts of money.
Being a block away from a Wells Fargo bank, I stopped by just in case this was a legitimate call. Before I could explain the entire situation to the teller, he confirmed that the call was a scam. Worse yet? He said that they’ve had a lot of account holders come in to relay the same story recently.
Before heading home, I called my girlfriend (through my hands-free bluetooth system) to let her know about what had just happened. I didn’t want to leave her safety to chance.
In all my years, I’ve really only seen digital scams – but they certainly prepared me to face this situation with skepticism. I’d like to believe that even if I hadn’t been aware of these types of scams, I would have reacted the same way (and remained safe).
Let this simply serve as a reminder: think before you act, especially if you’re reacting to something. It’s one thing to share private / sensitive information with a person you’ve called or connected with, but you should always keep your guard up when someone (largely unauthenticated) tries to pry any amount of knowledge from your brain.
You might think yourself secure simply because you’re not banking at Wells Fargo, but replace this brand with the name of any other financial institution…? Yeah, it could happen to anybody.