Dozens of people say unauthorized accounts in their name are being opened at one of America’s largest banks – with mysterious deposits showing up in some.
One Arkansas man in particular says someone opened an account in his name at Wells Fargo and deposited thousands of dollars, NBC reports.
Jay Patterson of Little Rock says an unknown entity opened an account under his name using partially correct information. His name, address and social security number were accurate, while his date of birth, email and drivers license details were wrong. Yet thousands of dollars still flowed into the account before it was shut down.
Patterson has never been a Wells Fargo customer and says he has never given the bank access to his personal data. He also says that Wells Fargo was initially reluctant to address the incident.
“Wells Fargo would not tell me anything about this account – when it was opened, who opened it, what kind of money went through it… They did acknowledge it was fraud in a letter a few weeks later.”
Records show Patterson’s predicament is not a one-off.
“Other consumers, in public complaints to regulators, have detailed similarly mysterious Wells Fargo bank accounts, raising fresh questions, experts say, about compliance and risk management at a bank that has been rocked by scandals in recent years.”
Patterson appears to be a victim of synthetic identity fraud, when some uses a combination of real and bogus personal information to create bank accounts that can then be used to launder money or commit other financial crimes.
Wells Fargo says it is constantly working to prevent fraud and criminal acts.
“Wells Fargo invests hundreds of millions of dollars annually to fight fraud and strengthen our ability to quickly combat against criminal behavior… When we learn of fraudulent activity, we take action and work to ensure there’s no harm to the consumer.”
In December, Wells Fargo agreed to pay the CFPB a record $3.7 billion fine for illegally freezing customer accounts, charging unlawful fees, opening customer accounts without permission and improperly seizing vehicles.Don't Miss a Beat – Subscribe to get email alerts delivered directly to your inbox
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