Thursday, August 11, 2011

Phone Scammers Pretend To Be From Wells Fargo, Demand Personal Information To "Activate" Your Debit Card

Because Wells Fargo does business here in Alaska, this story's of interest here, although there are no known occurrences here so far. Phone scammers pretending to be from Wells Fargo are calling people. The phone message: "Wells Fargo online to inform that your debit card status is now limited. To attend this issue and to activate your debit card, please press 1 now."

Bank spokesman Mark Chapman says it's extremely rare the company would ever call anyone to solicit personal information. If you don't know if the call is legit, he advises people to call the number on the back of their card. KSL news video embedded below:

Video Courtesy of

The calls aren't directed only at Wells Fargo customers. Matthew Lohmeyer was recently targeted, and he has no account with Wells Fargo. But Lohmeyer says these scammers are incredibly persistent, and actually called him six times in one day. They call from a different number each time, and the calls tend to originate from California, New Jersey, Montana, and Texas.

If you're wondering what happens if you respond, one person decided to play along, but punched in a known bogus account number. In the KSL comments, The Old Wolf writes, "Also not a Wells Fargo customer, I followed the prompts to see how they were proceeding. They asked for the credit card number, expiration date, PIN, [and] the last four digits of the primary cardholder's SSN. I punched in bogus information, of course, and was told 'Congratulations, your card has now been reactivated.' And nobody's account information was compromised even by chance - the Visa number 4111 1111 1111 1111 doesn't exist, but passes the Luhn test".

Wells Fargo also encourages their customers to report scamming attempts to their Fraud Information Center. Alaskans can also file a complaint with the Alaska Consumer Protection Unit, and should report an attempt to local police using the non-emergency number.

This scam is also being reported in Sioux Falls, SD; St. George, UT; and Ogden, UT.

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