As a consumer, you’ve probably been warned for years about the need to look over your bank account statements, your credit card bills, your medical insurance statements, and even your credit reports for any signs of suspicious activity. This activity could be an early sign that something strange is happening to your account and to your identity, specifically that a thief is using your account for fraud.
But what do you do when the identity theft and fraud are being perpetrated within your own bank? That’s the case in a bombshell announcement from Wells Fargo, who has now admitted that it has fired over five thousand employees in an ongoing investigation into fraudulent practices within the bank.
According to reports, a number of Wells Fargo employees were opening fake accounts in existing customers’ names in order to meet strict sales quotas for new accounts and to earn employee incentives. The idea of quotas and incentives is nothing new, and it’s certainly not limited to Wells Fargo or the banking industry, for that matter. But the requirement was enough that the widespread practice of opening new online banking accounts and taking funds out of customers’ accounts to cover those fees became a way out for the employees.
It’s hard enough to protect yourself from fraud and identity theft when an anonymous hacker is behind it. But how do you safeguard your accounts from the very people who have full access to them? In almost the same way.
By monitoring your accounts for anything out of the ordinary—in this case, banking fees—and not letting even a tiny charge go unresolved, you can stay on top of your security. Remember, no matter how insignificant or coincidental an issue might seem, it can be the sign of a bigger problem. A few dollars here and there might not trigger any alarm bells, but those tiny charges not only add up, they indicate that someone is doing something behind your back. Call and report anything that doesn’t make sense, and be sure to save all of your statements that show errors or fraud.
Anyone can be a victim of identity theft, anyone can use our services, and anyone can help us help others. If you found this information useful, please consider donating to the Identity Theft Resource Center to help us keep our services free to the public.