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Wells Fargo warns of new scam, urges customers to be skeptical
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Wells Fargo bank officials Thursday warned customers about a new scam that could appear legitimate, but actually steals bank information.

Bank spokesman Mark Chapman said he became aware of the scam July 20 after one customer had apparently fallen victim.

He said the scammers are leaving an automated voice message on phones or sending a text message informing people that something is wrong with their Wells Fargo debit card. People are told to respond to a certain phone number and provide information so their accounts can be reactivated, he said.

He said the bank has received "numerous" calls from customers inquiring about whether the call or text message is legitimate.

James W. Platt, a retired Salt Lake police officer, said Thursday that already this week he's received four automated phone calls from someone pretending to be Wells Fargo. He's hung up every time and avoided becoming a victim. Platt, who had Tweeted about his experience, said he's not a Wells Fargo customer.

"After the first try when they called again, I figured somebody was up to no good," he said.

Platt said if he had any questions about the veracity of a call he would have called the company directly using already provided contact numbers, like those listed on the back of debit and credit cards. Chapman said the bank encourages consumers to take the same action.

"If something seems wrong, it usually is," Platt said. "Just trust your gut."

Chapman said he doesn't know how the scammers obtained the phone numbers, but in the past said they have bought mass lists of phone numbers or addresses, stole them or used technology to generate contact lists.

But what may make the newest scam especially confusing for customers is that legitimate Wells Fargo bank employees do sometimes reach out to customers when there are concerns about fraudulent usage. All employees will understand if a customer would prefer to call the number listed on their card to verify legitimacy, he said.

Anyone who thinks they may have become a victim should contact Wells Fargo immediately.

jstecklein@sltrib.com

Bank • Texts, voice messages about debit card issues are a fraud.
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