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Consumer Tips in Light of the Wells Fargo Consent Order

Yesterday, Wells Fargo was fined $185 million by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and other regulators. The bank also fired nearly 5,300 employees. Why? Investigation by the CFPB determined that those employees had opened 2.1 million deposit and credit card accounts that had not been authorized by account holders. Matt Levine of Bloomberg.com cited the L.A. City Attorney’s complaint to outline how consumers have been impacted by these actions.

“Customers have been prejudiced in numerous ways by Wells Fargo’s gaming: (a) customers lose money to monthly service fees charged for unauthorized accounts; (b) customer accounts are placed into collection, forcing customers to fight with debt collection agencies for fees charged by Wells Fargo on unauthorized accounts; (c) customers’ credit reports are affected, impacting job applications, loans for automobiles, and mortgage applications; and (d) customers are forced to purchase costly identity theft protection services to ensure against further fraudulent activities.”

Read more: Wells Fargo Opened a Couple Million Fake Accounts

Next Steps for Consumers:

If you are an account holder with Wells Fargo, consider taking the following steps:

  1. Check your bank and credit card account transaction histories thoroughly. Look for any discrepancies or unusual transactions. Don’t forget to scrutinize very small transactions.
  2. Check your credit report for any accounts listed in your name that you did not authorize.
  3. Contact your local bank account representative and ask the following questions:
  • What steps have you taken to secure my account(s)?
  • How are you determining whether or not fees have been charged to my account of which I was not aware?
  • (If unauthorized fees were charged to your account) – When and how will these fees be reimbursed?
  1. If you believe that your account has or could be compromised further in a manner that could affect your credit score, you can dispute discrepancies in your report and place a fraud alert on your accounts with the three credit reporting agencies – Experian, Equifax, and Transunion.

To request your Credit Report, go to AnnualCreditReport.com.

To report a scam, go to the BBB Scam Tracker. To file a complaint, go to bbb.org.