Wells Fargo Scam Texts: How To Spot Them and Protect Your Money

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Hari Ravichandran

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    Why Am I Getting a Text From Wells Fargo? 

    Benjamin Gardner didn’t know about Wells Fargo scam texts — until it was too late. When the Navy veteran received a message about a fraudulent charge on his account, he panicked and replied immediately [*]. 

    Moments later, his phone rang with “Wells Fargo” displayed on the caller ID. The caller explained that Benjamin’s account had been compromised, and the only way to protect his money was to transfer it to another account via Zelle. But instead of keeping his money safe, Benjamin sent $3,500 of his savings directly to a scammer.

    There were 87.8 billion scam texts sent in 2021 alone [*]. But while the types of scam texts may vary, the perpetrators are almost always after one thing: your money. 

    Wells Fargo and its associated money transfer app, Zelle, are common targets for text scammers. Fraudsters pose as bank representatives or send fake fraud alerts to trick you into giving up money or access to your accounts — with no way of getting back your stolen funds. 

    In this guide, we’ll cover Wells Fargo scam texts, how to spot them, and proactive steps that you can take to stay safe.

    What Is the Wells Fargo Text Scam? How Does It Work? 

    A Wells Fargo scam text is a type of smishing attack in which con artists send text messages that claim to be from a bank — typically disguised as phony fraud alerts.

    The goal is to make people believe their accounts are at risk so that they will get in touch and, ultimately, either expose personal information or unwittingly send money to the scammer. 

    Since 2021, reports of SMS scams have grown, as scammers target customers of Wells Fargo bank — and other financial institutions, including Citi and Bank of America [*]. 

    Here’s how the scam typically plays out:

    • Scammers send text messages claiming to be from Wells Fargo. Like phishing emails, the fraudsters attempt to make the communications look authentic, even spoofing the phone number to look like the call is coming from Wells Fargo.
    • The message often includes a fraud alert, notifying you that there has supposedly been a charge or other suspicious activity on your Wells Fargo account.
    • To secure your account or refund the charge, the message insists that you reply, call a phone number, or click on a link.
    • If you click on the link, it will direct you to a bogus website, which will try to steal your personally identifiable information (PII) — such as your bank account information, login credentials, or Social Security number (SSN).
    • If you reply to the text message or call the number, you’ll be contacted by someone claiming to be from the “Wells Fargo Fraud department.” The scammer may spoof your caller ID to make the call seem more convincing.
    • The impersonator will offer a solution to reverse the charges, or advise you to update your account information. You may be encouraged to remove the phone number from your Zelle account and send money to yourself. 
    • However, this process enables the scammer to take over your Zelle account, so any transfer that you make "to yourself" will actually go straight to the scammer.
    ✅ Take action: If you accidentally give a text scammer your personal information, your bank and other financial accounts could be at risk. Try Aura’s top-rated identity theft protection free for 14 days to secure your accounts and finances against fraudsters.

    How To Tell If a Wells Fargo Text Is Legitimate or a Scam

    Professional con artists can be extremely convincing, especially when victims think their money is at risk. It's important to remain calm and take a moment to think carefully before following the advice offered in an unsolicited text message or phone call. 

    Here are the main warning signs of a Wells Fargo scam text:

    The text creates a sense of urgency

    Scammers often claim that your Wells Fargo account is at risk or that you’ll lose money if you don’t take action immediately.

    In one example, Lisa Landry received a fraud alert text when she was using Zelle to sell novelties at the Cal Expo Winter Wonderland. A “Wells Fargo rep” then called her and urged her to act fast to save her money. Within minutes, Lisa sent $3,000 before realizing the truth — while the scammer taunted her on the phone [*]. 

    Remember: No bank official will pressure or rush you into making transactions or transferring your money out of your account.

    The text scammer uses vague or publicly available information to build trust 

    Some scammers find information about you on social media sites or the Dark Web and mention partial card numbers to make you think they are legitimate. For instance, they will say there has been activity on a card starting with “4342” to make you think it’s your card. 

    However, it's worth remembering that all Wells Fargo debit cards start with these same four numbers!

    The text includes a suspicious link

    Links in spam messages may lead to malicious websites where scammers can steal your information or upload malware to your computer. If you look carefully, you can often spot these bogus links because they include lots of random letters and numbers. 

    Scammers include links that look like they’re from Wells Fargo. Source: Verified.org

    Regardless of how convincing the communication may seem, you should always avoid clicking on links in text messages. If you want to check the authenticity of a claim, it’s best to go directly to the bank’s official website or app. 

    There are spelling, grammar, and formatting mistakes

    Typos are major red flags indicating a Wells Fargo scam text. Banks are unlikely to make such trivial mistakes in their communications, whereas many scammers originate in countries in which English is not the native language. 

    Look carefully at the text message's spelling, grammar, and design to see if there is anything suspicious. Some scammers make their links more convincing by using subtle variations of the bonafide URL address — for example, “weilsfargo.com,” or “wellsfarrgo.com.” 

    It’s from an unknown sender 

    Banks use specific “short codes” when sending text messages. In the case of Wells Fargo, any legitimate text should use one of these five-digit short codes [*]:

    • 935-57
    • 937-33
    • 937-29
    • 546-87

    If you receive messages from another number, there's a chance it could be a Wells Fargo text scam. Before you take action or reply, ask yourself: do you recognize the sender or phone number?

    You receive an unexpected phone call

    A key aspect of smishing scams is spoofing the victim’s caller ID — making it seem like the call is coming from an official institution, like the IRS, FBI, or your bank. However, you won't receive text messages from Wells Fargo unless you specifically consent to the bank  contacting you this way. 

    If anyone calls claiming to be from Wells Fargo and asks for sensitive information like your PIN or online banking password, this is a clear red flag of a scam.

    There’s a request for you to delete your Zelle number

    It's easy for thieves to take over your Zelle account if they have your name and phone number — they only need you to remove your phone number or delete your current Zelle account first. 

    If you're on the phone with someone claiming to be from Wells Fargo and are asked  to delete your Zelle account, don't do it. Scammers will take over your account and then tell you to send money "to yourself" — but the money will actually go to them. 

    💡Related: Zelle Scams and How Thieves Are Siphoning Away Your Money

    The 7 Latest Wells Fargo Scam Texts To Watch Out For

    1. Fake transaction warnings 
    2. Your Wells Fargo account is blocked
    3. Fraudulent new login alert on your account
    4. There’s been unusual activity on your card
    5. Update your account information
    6. Verification is required for your account
    7. Attempted Zelle transfer

    Scammers are constantly adapting and evolving their scams to try and trick you. Here are tips to help you spot seven of the latest Wells Fargo scam texts:

    1. Fake transaction warnings 

    Scammers include specific details (like price and location) to make their fake fraud alerts look more legitimate. Source: Reddit

    The most common type of Wells Fargo text scam occurs when you receive a text message about a recent transaction that supposedly happened on your debit or credit card. 

    Scammers include the “4342” number to trick people into believing it really is their card. The aim is to make you panic and reply to the text, at which point the scammer will call you. 

    On the phone, they can pressure you into sharing personal information and coerce you to make transactions to “reverse the charges” on your account. However, any money you send will end up in the hands of the scammers.

    How to identify a fake Wells Fargo transaction warning text:

    • The text only includes the first four digits of your card. 
    • The message will be from an unknown number — not from one of Wells Fargo's verified shortcodes.
    • If you check your online banking or Wells Fargo app, there will be no sign of the alleged transaction.

    💡 Related: Wells Fargo Identity Theft Protection: Pros, Cons, and Alternatives

    2. Your Wells Fargo account is blocked

    Text scams almost always try to create a sense of urgency — and what could be more urgent than making sure your bank account hasn’t been blocked? 

    Scammers try to create a sense of urgency by claiming your account is locked. Source: Reddit

    In this scam, fraudsters send text messages claiming your account has been locked, and they provide a phone number to call. Their goal is to get you to respond — even if it’s just to tell them that they have the wrong number. But once they have you on the phone, they can continue to target you with their scams. 

    How to identify a fake Wells Fargo account blocked text:

    • Beware of unsolicited contact from Wells Fargo — even if you don’t have an account.
    • The text contains a vague, unclear message that stirs up curiosity (and may elicit a reply). 
    • The text includes odd formatting that doesn’t seem professional enough to be from a bank. 
    ✅ Take action: If scammers have access to your banking information, they could empty your account or take out loans in your name. Try Aura’s top-rated identity theft protection with credit monitoring free for 14 days to secure your finances from fraudsters.

    3. Fraudulent new login alert on your account

    This Wells Fargo scam text informs you about a login attempt from an unrecognized device. The message will encourage you to click on a link to "protect your account." 

    In this example, fraudsters placed the words “Wells Fargo” near the malicious link to make it seem safe. Source: Reddit
    In this example, fraudsters placed the words “Wells Fargo” near the malicious link to make it seem safe. Source: Reddit

    However, this link will likely direct you to a phishing website where scammers can steal your PII. Alternatively, the link may infect your device with spyware that can scan for sensitive data like login credentials, credit card numbers, and email passwords.

    How to identify a Wells Fargo text scam about a fraudulent login alert:

    • You receive a random message that doesn’t seem like it’s from a genuine bank.
    • The text contains a suspicious link that doesn’t take you to the official “WellsFargo.com” website.
    • There’s a lack of relevant or personal information to confirm the message relates to your account.

    💡 Related: How To Know If Your Phone Is Hacked

    4. There’s been unusual activity on your card

    Another variation of the Wells Fargo text scam is a message that mentions "unusual activity" on your account. Like the fake transaction text, receiving this notification may prompt a knee-jerk reaction that plays right into the scammer's hands.

    Scammers use specific details — like location and date — to make their texts seem authentic. Source: Reddit

    Mary Powell received a text message that convinced her somebody had used her account for an unauthorized Amazon purchase. After she called, the fraudster proceeded to con the New Jersey woman out of $3,500 under the pretense that he was a Wells Fargo representative who could help Mary get a refund [*]. 

    How to identify a Wells Fargo scam text about unusual account activity:

    • The message comes from an unfamiliar number that isn't one of Wells Fargo's approved shortcodes.
    • You’re encouraged to click on a link to resolve the problem or confirm details.
    • The link URL is hidden, shortened, or uses an incorrect variation of the “Wells Fargo” name.

    💡 Related: How To Protect Your Bank Account From Identity Theft → 

    5. Update your account information

    Rather than mentioning any transactions, this type of text scam informs you that Wells Fargo received a request for a password reset on your account. This subtle scam may trick you into believing that the text is a genuine warning from your bank about an attempted hack.

    But in reality, it’s a double-bluff — as the scammer is the one sending the warning. If you follow the link, you’ll expose your personal information to the thief. 

    How to identify a Wells Fargo scam text that contains a password reset request:

    • The sender address may reflect an overseas number with an area code.
    • The text includes a link to reset your password instead of advising you to reset it through the app.
    • The link consists of a random sequence of letters and numbers. 

    Pro tip: Always log in to your online bank account through an official app or website, not through links in emails or text messages.

    6. Verification is required for your account

    Another way that scammers carry out smishing scams is by sending vague messages that imply the bank needs information to verify your account. 

    Never trust an unsolicited text message claiming that there’s an issue with your bank. Source: Reddit

    A thief doesn’t need any personal information about you to send these texts — not even your name or location. As a result, scammers can play the numbers game by sending hundreds of messages, hoping someone takes the bait. 

    How to identify a Wells Fargo text scam about a required verification:

    • The text includes poor spelling or grammar — such as an incorrect title case for Wells Fargo (i.e., “wells Fargo”).
    • No specific information confirms that the text relates to your account.
    • The link may have an unusual URL ending, such as “.xyz” or “.io” rather than the official “WellsFargo.com” domain. 

    7. Attempted Zelle transfer

    One of the most common types of Wells Fargo text scams begins with a message that asks if you approved a Zelle transaction. When you reply — regardless of whether you say yes or no — the scammer then calls you.

    Scammers scare you into thinking someone has transferred money out of your account using Zelle. Source: Verified.org

    After Cynthia Marin received a text like this, she ended up on a phone call with someone whom she believed was from Wells Fargo [*].

    The impersonator convinced the California woman to open Zelle, enter her name, leave the phone number blank, and then make two transactions for $1,700. A few minutes later, Cynthia’s account balance was at $6. The scammers had taken the rest.

    How to identify a Wells Fargo text scam that starts with an attempted Zelle transfer:

    • You receive an alert about an unfamiliar Zelle transaction.
    • A message claims to be from “Wells Fargo Fraud Protection.”
    • The person on the call encourages you to send money “to yourself” on Zelle.

    💡 Related: Scammed on Zelle? Here's How To Get Your Money Back

    Did You Respond To a Wells Fargo Scam Text? Do This!

    The good news is that scammers can’t do much if you don’t click on a link or call the number provided. But what if you do make the mistake of taking the bait?

    Here are four possible ways in which you could respond to Wells Fargo scam texts — and what you should do to protect yourself in each scenario:

    If you clicked on a link in a fake text message:
    • Don’t share any personal information like your SSN or credit card details.
    • Close the webpage immediately.
    • Run a malware scan to check for suspicious activity or newly installed software that you don't recognize. Aura’s all-in-one digital security solution includes powerful antivirus software that can protect you against viruses and spyware.
    If you entered your Wells Fargo account information on a phishing site:
    • Block your debit or credit card immediately by using the official Wells Fargo app or website.
    • Use another device with virtual private network (VPN) protection to securely transfer all your money to another account — ideally, an account held by a trusted individual, like your spouse or parent. 
    • Call the Wells Fargo fraud team immediately at 1-866-867-5568.
    • Run a malware scan on your devices to find and remove any suspicious programs.
    If you gave scammers your personal information:
    • Cancel your bank accounts and credit cards immediately.
    • Change your passwords, especially those connected to sensitive accounts such as your online banking, email inbox, and IRS tax accounts.
    • File a fraud report at reportfraud.ftc.gov. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can help you recover from the fraud
    If you think your device has been infected or if you gave scammers remote access:
    • Disconnect your device from the internet, Wi-Fi, or mobile data.
    • Log out of everything immediately and change your passwords.
    • Run a malware scan on the device, and remember to scan any external hard drives.
    • Report the scam to the FTC to get their guidance as well as help authorities stop others from falling prey to the fraud.
    • Report the issue to the FBI via their Internet Crime Complaint Center.

    How To Protect Yourself From Wells Fargo Scam Texts

    Spam texts have more than doubled since 2019, with 85% of Americans receiving a robotext in the previous 12 months, according to Truecaller’s U.S. Spam & Scam Report [*]. 

    Americans are targeted by numerous robotext scams. Source: Truecaller

    Sooner or later, you're bound to encounter a Wells Fargo text scam. When the time comes, here is a list of ways that you can protect yourself:

    1. Ignore and delete suspicious text messages. If you reply, you let the scammers know that your number is active so that they can target you with future scams. They may even add your phone number to a list that hackers can buy on the Dark Web.
    2. Never click on links in texts. Phishing scams have been tricking victims into clicking on links for years via emails and texts. It's never a good idea to follow the links in any text message. Instead, if you want to check on your Wells Fargo account, log in directly at www.wellsfargo.com.
    3. Report spam texts to Wells Fargo. You can let the bank know by sending an email to reportphish@wellsfargo.com and by forwarding the scam message to 7726. This method works for any U.S. mobile carrier, including AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless.
    4. Remove your phone number from data broker lists. It’s important to minimize the number of subscriptions and mailing lists with which you share your information. Aura can reduce your risk exposure by automatically scanning databases for your information and lodging removal requests on your behalf.
    5. Filter text messages from unknown senders. By setting up filters, you can prevent spam messages from arriving in your inbox — making you less likely to be taken in by fraudsters.
    6. Always confirm the recipient's phone number or email address before sending money on Zelle. Treat Zelle transfers like cash. If you send them to the wrong person, they’re essentially gone.
    7. Sign up for a comprehensive online security provider. Aura offers protection against financial fraud and common scams with a suite of easy-to-use digital security features, including a built-in VPN with military-grade encryption to protect your devices. Try Aura free for 14 days to see if it’s right for you! 

    💡 Related: How To Stop Spam Texts (on Android and iPhone)

    The Bottom Line: Don’t Get Scammed by Suspicious Texts

    Remember that Wells Fargo will only text you from their official phone shortcodes, and only if you’ve opted in to receive text communications [*]. If you receive a text from any other number that claims to be Wells Fargo, it’s a scam.

    Unfortunately, text message scams aren't going anywhere; and fraudsters will continue to launch increasingly sophisticated scams in the future. If you become a victim of a Zelle scam, it might be impossible to get your money back. 

    An all-in-one digital security solution is the best way to protect your finances and personal information.

    Aura keeps your whole family safe with proactive tools to help identify spam, safeguard your devices against malware, and shield against phishing attempts, identity theft, and financial fraud.

    Shop, browse, and bank online — safely. Try Aura free for 14 days

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    1. Financial identity theft and fraud
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    6. Employment identity theft
    7. Criminal identity theft
    8. Tax identity theft
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    10. Synthetic identity theft
    11. Identity cloning
    12. Account takeovers (social media, email, etc.)
    13. Social Security number identity theft
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