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How To Avoid the 6 Latest Wells Fargo Scams

Wells Fargo scams can wipe out your savings with a single text message. Do you know the warning signs and how to stay safe?

Illustration of a Wells Fargo debit card in the shape of a text bubble

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      Is Your Wells Fargo Account at Risk?

      As a tech-savvy millennial, Katie Callaway thought she was prepared for bank scams. But when she received a text message and then a call from someone claiming to be a Wells Fargo support representative, she fell for an elaborate ploy — and lost over $4,200 [*].

      Scammers know the value of gaining access to your Wells Fargo account and are constantly coming up with new schemes to trick you.

      According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) [*]:

      There were more than 150,000 reports of bank-related identity fraud in 2022, with victims losing close to $2.7 billion to these and other types of imposter scams.

      In this guide, we’ll cover how Wells Fargo scams work, the warning signs to watch out for, and what you can do if you’re targeted.


      What Are Wells Fargo Scams? How Do They Work?

      Wells Fargo scams occur when fraudsters use emotional manipulation and urgency to trick victims into sending money, giving access to their online bank accounts, or sharing other sensitive information. 

      While scammers are always looking for new ways to trick you, most Wells Fargo scams fall under one of these seven categories:

      1. Phishing emails spoof legitimate Wells Fargo emails and request personally identifiable information (PII) or account details. These emails also usually contain links to duplicate websites.
      2. Smishing text messages are fraudulent text messages that contain links to bogus websites that can even install malware on your devices.
      3. Scam phone calls come from someone impersonating a Wells Fargo employee who tries to get personal information, like your Social Security number (SSN).
      4. Fake websites that look like the official Wells Fargo official site can trick victims into disclosing their credit card numbers or login credentials.
      5. Advance fee fraud happens when scammers claim you’re eligible for a loan or 0% interest rate — if you pay an upfront fee. 
      6. Fake checks and money orders tempt victims to deposit the funds and return a portion. But once the check bounces, victims are left in debt to the bank.
      7. Investment scams lure people with a supposed chance to make high returns with low risk — but scammers are just using the Wells Fargo name to steal your money.

      It’s important to note that bank scams target all major financial institutions across the United States, including Bank of America, Chase, and Citibank.

      🛡 Secure your finances from scammers and hackers. Aura’s award-winning digital security solution uses AI to monitor and protect your most sensitive information, accounts, devices, and data. Try Aura free for 14 days.

      The 6 Most Dangerous Wells Fargo Scams To Avoid

      Here are six of the latest Wells Fargo scams that you should watch out for in 2023:

      1. Fake fraud alert text messages
      2. “Did you attempt a Zelle payment?” fake texts
      3. Messages claiming your Wells Fargo account is blocked
      4. “Glue and tap” scams on Wells Fargo ATMs
      5. Scammers creating fake accounts by using your personal information
      6. Fraudsters claiming they accidentally paid you too much 

      1. Fake fraud alert text messages

      This con starts with a text about suspicious activity on your account, such as a failed login attempt from an unrecognized device. Typically, scam messages include a link through which you can supposedly protect your account — but this leads to a fake website that is under the scammer's control. 

      Example of a fake Wells Fargo fraud alert text message. Source: Twitter
      Example of a fake Wells Fargo fraud alert text message. Source: Twitter

      In one example, a Twitter user received scam text messages purporting to be from Wells Fargo — with a notable misspelling giving the ruse away. 

      How to spot (and avoid) this scam:

      • Poor spelling or grammar. Fake text messages often include strange phrasings that don’t look like anything a genuine bank would send.
      • Generic details. The message may include the first four or six digits of your access card, but won’t include personal information to confirm that the message is actually about your account.
      • Suspicious link. If you hover your mouse cursor above the link (on a desktop computer), you can see the URL isn’t that of the official “” website.

      💡 Related: 10 Text Message Scams You Didn’t Know About (Until Now)

      2. “Did you attempt a Zelle payment?” fake texts

      Lately, many Wells Fargo scams target Zelle users. As peer-to-peer (P2P) payment apps send money almost instantly, it's easy for crooks to steal money and vanish before the victim realizes it's a scam.  

      Many Zelle scams start with a text about fraudulent activity on your account, like an attempted payment or failed login. If you reply, someone pretending to be from Wells Fargo will call you and try to trick you into sending money. 

      A South Carolina consumer reported a $1,000 fraud on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website, describing how an impersonator convinced them to “reverse a fraudulent transaction” by sending money through Zelle [*]. 

      How to spot (and avoid) this scam:

      • Always double-check fraud alerts before responding. Log in to your Zelle account to see if the transaction actually happened. If it’s not there, ignore the message and block the phone number.
      • Check the shortcode. Wells Fargo sends text messages from five shortcode numbers: 93557, 93733, 93729, 93767, and 22981 [*]. If the message doesn’t come from an official shortcode, it's not from Wells Fargo.
      • Beware of anyone who asks you to transfer money. Wells Fargo employees won’t ask you to send money “to yourself” or a safe account. Any suggestion like this is a clear sign of a scam.

      3. Messages claiming that you need to verify your Wells Fargo account

      Many Wells Fargo scams start with an email or text that claims you need to verify your account details in order to regain access to your bank account or qualify for a special offer. In reality, fraudsters want you to call the number so that they can try to deceive you over the phone and pressure you into sharing passwords or transferring money.

      Example of a phishing email asking you to “verify” your Wells Fargo account details. Source: Reddit

      When someone phoned Betty Alford, claiming to be a Wells Fargo representative, Betty was told that she qualified for a $6,000 loan. The 82-year-old was struggling to pay bills and gladly accepted the offer — all she had to do was verify her account. But unfortunately for Betty, fraudsters stole all her money [*]. 

      How to identify a fake Wells Fargo account blocked text:

      • Unsolicited contact. Fraudsters reach out without any prior warning, even to people who don’t have an account with Wells Fargo.
      • Vague messaging. Scammers intentionally leave out details about why your account is blocked, as they hope you will reply to find out more.  
      • It looks unprofessional. Typos, poor grammar, and odd formatting are all clues that you aren’t in contact with a real bank.

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

      4. “Glue and tap” scams on Wells Fargo ATMs

      When an ATM in San Francisco wouldn't accept Pamela Bongiorno's card, a man standing in line told her to use the tap feature. It worked, and she left with her cash. But the following day, her account had three withdrawals totaling $940 [*].  

      Pamela had fallen prey to a “glue and tap scam,” in which thieves pour glue into the card reader before posing as helpful strangers. If you tap your card, the transaction window remains active — and the thief can make more withdrawals after you leave. 

      How to spot (and avoid) this scam:

      • Malfunctioned card reader. If an ATM card reader doesn’t work, it’s best to find another one. 
      • A helpful stranger on hand suggests you tap. Many people are genuine, but be careful if you encounter a broken card reader and a helpful stranger with this advice. 
      • Make sure to log out after withdrawals. Anytime you use the tap feature at an ATM, it’s vital to log out before leaving. Don’t let anyone distract you from finishing the transaction properly. 

      5. Scammers creating fake accounts by using your personal information

      Fraudsters can use stolen personal information to create a fake profile on your bank account. If successful, the con artist can masquerade as an authorized user and convince banks to approve transactions. 

      A couple almost lost their life savings to this scam in December 2022 — but thankfully, Wells Fargo refunded their stolen $68,000 [*]. 

      How to spot (and avoid) this scam:

      • Look for unfamiliar activity. Familiarize yourself with your online banking account by browsing the menu options and reviewing your profile settings regularly. If you spot anything suspicious, you can report it before an incident happens.
      • Set up alerts. Wells Fargo accounts offer email, text, and push notifications to warn you of any activity — such as transactions over a set limit. 
      • Change passwords often. You can stay one step ahead of scammers by changing your passwords each month. Aura’s password manager makes it easy to keep track of all your passwords without having to remember them by generating and storing long, complex combinations for each account. 

      6. Fraudsters claiming they accidentally paid you too much

      Marc Beardsley got a surprise when $70,000 landed in his Wells Fargo account in February 2023. Soon after, the sender contacted him and asked Marc to return $68,000 — saying he could "keep the $2,000 for your trouble.'" 

      But Marc didn’t understand he was playing into the hands of a criminal who had already hacked his savings account. After wiring the money, Marc and his wife realized that it was an overpayment scam [*]. 

      How to spot (and avoid) this scam:

      • A surprise deposit. If you get money from an unknown source, you should always question it — especially if it's large. When in doubt, contact the Wells Fargo fraud department directly and ask them what to do. 
      • Someone asks for a portion back. When the supposed sender contacts you with a story about “paying too much” and offers to let you keep some of the money, consider this a huge red flag.
      • Unauthorized activity on your account. If you think you might be in the crosshairs of an overpayment scam, explore your different accounts for any recent activity. If there are transfers between your accounts that you don’t recognize, a hacker may have access.  

      💡 Related: How To Quickly Spot a Wells Fargo Scam Text

      5 Warning Signs of Wells Fargo Scams

      If fraudsters coerce you into authorizing a legitimate transfer from your own smartphone or online account, some banks won’t refund the scammed money. You can avoid becoming a victim of fraud when you can spot the red flags. 

      Here’s what to look out for:

      • Incorrect shortcode. Wells Fargo uses specific shortcode numbers for SMS messages — 93557, 93733, 93729, 93767, and 22981. If you get text messages from a number other than these official Wells Fargo bank shortcodes, don’t reply. 
      • Generic information. Scammers may try to make you panic by mentioning basic details — like your address, name, or phone number — but all of these details can easily be found on social media. Also, if they mention part of your card number, remember that all Wells Fargo cards start with the same six digits: 4737 02. 
      • Pressure to act. No real bank employee will pressure you to share information or transfer money. Take your time and ask yourself if you're in contact with a legitimate person.
      • Your account looks fine. If you get a text or email warning about fraud on your account, check your mobile banking app or online bank account by using a secure device. If there is no confirmation of the alleged transaction, you're probably dealing with a scammer. 
      • Someone asks for sensitive details. Wells Fargo will occasionally contact you via email, text, or phone if they detect unusual account activity. But a Wells Fargo employee will never ask for your card PIN, temporary access code, or online banking password. Beware of anyone who asks for this information, even if they claim to represent the bank. 

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

      Did You Fall Victim to a Wells Fargo Scam? Do This!

      If you accidentally fell for a Wells Fargo scam, you might be able to get your money back from the bank. But first, you need to properly report the fraud.

      Follow the five steps below to report Wells Fargo scams:

      Check your Wells Fargo account for signs of fraud

      Review your bank and credit card accounts regularly for profile changes (like a new name or address) as well as unrecognized transactions. Even small charges are worth reporting, as fraudsters often test stolen card information with small purchases before attempting to empty the account.

      See if you’re covered under the “Zero Liability” protection program

      Wells Fargo’s Zero Liability protection applies to debit cards, credit cards, ATM cards, and easy-pay cards [*]. But a quick response is critical to ensure that you won’t be held responsible for fraudulent activity. Contact the bank immediately if you lose a card, or if you spot unauthorized transfers or fake accounts in your name.

      Contact Wells Fargo’s fraud department

      Your next steps depend on the type of scam to which you fell victim. Here’s how to report Wells Fargo scams based on the following scenarios:

      For fraud on a checking or savings account, debit or ATM card:

      • For personal accounts, call 1-800-869-3557
      • For small business accounts, call 1-800-225-5935

      For fraud on Bill Pay, Zelle®, Direct Pay, or online transfers wires:

      • Call 1-866-867-5568

      For credit card fraud (including a missing or stolen card):

      • Call 1-800-642-4720

      For suspicious emails, text messages, or calls:

      • If you clicked on a suspicious link or opened an attachment, call 1-866-867-5568
      • If you shared personal account information, call 1-800-869-3557
      • If you did not respond, forward the suspicious email/text message to

      For identity theft or financial fraud:

      • If you or an elderly or dependent adult in your care experienced potential fraud or identity theft, call 1-800-869-3557

      File a report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) 

      You may also fall victim to other types of identity theft when scammers have your personal information. Complete an online affidavit with the FTC at The FTC will provide an official report and a recovery plan to help you deal with the impact of the fraud.

      Notify local law enforcement

      Bring your FTC report and personally-identifying documents when you report fraud to the police. If you suspect local people are involved in the crime, investigators may be able to track the perpetrators and protect others from falling victim. 

      Does Wells Fargo Refund Money Lost to Scammers?

      In some situations, you can dispute the charges with the bank if you lost money to Wells Fargo scams. 

      Here’s how the refund process works:

      • After you notify them of the fraud, the bank gives you a claim number. You can use this number to view the status of your claim by signing on to Wells Fargo Online® [*]. 
      • Wells Fargo aims to resolve claims within 10 business days. 
      • If investigators need additional time, the bank will apply a temporary credit to your account. 
      • If the bank needs more information, a claims specialist may contact you. 
      • Upon the resolution of your claim, Wells Fargo will send you a final resolution letter with their verdict and explanation, and the bank will reverse related fees and adjust interest as applicable.
      • If your claim was denied, you can follow up with the bank or submit a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
      🏆 Get award-winning protection against fraud and scams. Aura’s all-in-one digital security solution has been rated #1 by, Forbes, Tech Radar, and more. Try Aura free for 14 daysand protect your bank account from scammers.

      How To Protect Your Wells Fargo Account From Scammers

      • Don’t share account details or login credentials. Never share sensitive information like your bank account number, PIN, online account password, or one-time passwords (OTPs) with anyone — even bank employees.
      • Create a strong and unique password for your Wells Fargo account. You can combat account takeovers by avoiding easy-to-guess passwords based on personal information. Instead, create a long, complex code by combining uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. 
      • Never click on links in unsolicited emails or texts. Malicious links can install spyware or ransomware on your device or lead to a phishing website that steals any information you enter.
      • Contact Wells Fargo directly to verify any information. Rather than replying directly to unsolicited texts, calls, or emails, log in to your account or call the customer support number located on the back of your card. 
      • Use bank security features. You can set spending limits to safeguard against theft. Also, enable email, text, or push notifications to get instant alerts about unauthorized transactions.
      • Be careful with online banking on public Wi-Fi. Hackers can easily compromise unsecured public networks. If you must access your bank account in a hotel, airport, or cafe, for example, make sure to protect your browsing activity with a secure virtual private network (VPN).
      • Enable automatic software updates. Hackers can exploit software vulnerabilities to infiltrate devices, install malware, and steal valuable data. Stay ahead of emerging threats by setting up automatic updates for all of your programs. 
      • Read about common scams. You can improve your personal digital security by watching the news and reading blogs to learn more about phishing scams, bank fraud, and the latest cyber threats to consumers. 
      • Lock your SIM card. Fraudsters may try to trick your mobile carrier into giving them a new SIM card in your name. This allows them to bypass two-factor authentication (2FA) and break into your bank account. You can lock your SIM card by contacting your cell phone provider.
      • Buy identity theft protection. A dedicated digital security provider gives you 24/7 credit and account monitoring to constantly protect your credit file and accounts, and alert you to signs of fraud.

      The Bottom Line: Nobody Is Immune to Wells Fargo Scams — But Aura Can Help

      Knowing what you’re up against helps reduce the likelihood of losing money to bank imposter scams — but 9 million Americans still become victims of fraud every year [*]. As cybercriminals evolve their tactics, even young digital natives are falling prey to insidious Wells Fargo scams in 2023. 

      If you want to protect your finances against Wells Fargo scams, Aura's identity theft protection solution is the safest approach. 

      All plan members can access the following benefits:

      • 24/7 three-bureau credit monitoring with rapid fraud alerts that are up to 250x faster than other digital security providers3.
      • VPN and antivirus software to protect your devices on unsecured networks and combat threats from malware, spyware, and ransomware.
      • Dark Web monitoring scans the internet in real-time and alerts you if it detects your personal information circulating on illicit marketplaces or forums.
      • $1,000,000 insurance policy to reimburse you for eligible losses that arise from identity theft — including stolen money, credit cards, and passports.
      • U.S.-based White Glove Fraud Resolution Specialists provide 24/7 support to help you manage situations with financial institutions, creditors, and government agencies.
      Keep your finances safe from fraudsters. Try Aura free for 14 days.
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