Official warning now out re: the fake ‘Wells Fargo’ messages

A WSB’er sounded the alarm last weekend, and many others followed. Now, the state Attorney General is out with an official alert about those fake e-mail, text, and phone messages that aren’t really from Wells Fargo (or any other bank):

State Attorney General Rob McKenna today warned consumers about a text-message trap to capture financial information and drain credit card and bank accounts. Such text message scams are called “smishing.”

“If you don’t wish to be smished, ignore text messages that look like they’re coming from your bank or credit card,” McKenna said. “Flip over your credit or ATM card and call the number on the back. If there’s a problem with your account, that’s the best way to find out.”

Consumers began contacting the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division early this week complaining about calls to their cell phones from those posing as Wells Fargo employees. An automated voice suggested that the customer’s account has been breached and directed them to “press one” for assistance. They were then connected to a person who asks for sensitive account information.

Many of the calls came to those who don’t even have Wells Fargo accounts. As the week progressed, the scam morphed to text messages from those posing as representing Bank of America, Chase, Citibank and Capital One.

“Phishing” scams trick consumers into turning over account numbers, PINs, credit card security codes, usernames, passwords and other sensitive information. “Smishing” is a similar scam launched over SMS (Short Message Service) messages – better known as text messages.

Scammers have long phished by phone and email. The text scam is a somewhat new variation. The Attorney General’s Office recommends that consumers never respond to any message requesting account or personal information. Instead, contact the institution using a phone number from a statement or from your bank or credit card company’s official Web site.

Phishing and smishing are criminal acts that the state Attorney General’s Office lacks authority to investigate. Consumers contacted by such scammers should file a complaint with the FTC: . Federal law enforcement monitors complaints filed through the FTC.

Consumers concerned they may have revealed sensitive information in a phishing or smishing scam should contact their bank or credit card company, if applicable, and monitor their bank statements, credit card bills and credit reports to watch for suspicious activity.

23 Replies to "Official warning now out re: the fake 'Wells Fargo' messages"

  • Lola October 7, 2011 (2:45 pm)

    They called my cell this morning. I had heard of this scam and I do not have a Wells Fargo Credit Card to begin with.

  • Cd October 7, 2011 (3:57 pm)

    Why is it that the AG’s office cannot investigate matters like this?

  • HelperMonkey October 7, 2011 (4:11 pm)

    we got a call at 11:45 pm last night, recorded message from a restricted #. the person who owns that phone # does not have a WF account and we’d heard about the scam here so we just hung up.

  • Eddie October 7, 2011 (7:02 pm)

    The call to my cell phone came from 317-215-5328

  • Eddie October 7, 2011 (7:07 pm)

    And here’s a whole list of phone numbers that apparently are being used by this robocall scam

  • james thode October 7, 2011 (10:30 pm)

    Just received a text tonight from number 520-288-4203….This message has a message “please contact us at 206-497-7885”

  • Delridgian October 7, 2011 (11:23 pm)

    Got the text too :/

  • Joe Blow October 8, 2011 (7:27 am)

    Got a call from 253-246-8573 and I dont have a Wells Fargo Credit Card.

  • (required) October 8, 2011 (9:02 am)

    Wht is the AG not investigating? The answer is part resource allocation decisions made by Rob McKenna, part incompetence, part jurisdictional confusion, and part timidity by the AG. So, you get people sending fake messages. It’s a crime…but which one? The AG has to ask, “what’s the crime?” You know, in the end, they think it’s really too confusing to deal with, really. They end up concluding that they will NOT really solve the crime and bring the perpetrators to court because: (a) Mr. McKenna thinks no one who is found to have violated a law will likely go to jail, (b) Washington state resources need to be spent on other things, (c) it’s too confusing, complicated and time consuming, and (d) how about those feds? Yeah, how about those feds? Jennie Durkin (or however her name is spelled) is definitely holding a bag. Get this, people: the government cares about violent crime. Fraud, however, is OK with them. OK with McKenna. OK with Durkin. OK with Saterburg. Judging by the volume of fraud out there and these supposed crime fighters doing NOTHING about it, I think they are incompetent politicians — nothing more.

  • Silly Goose October 8, 2011 (10:52 am)

    We are getting these 3-5 times a day and now they have also started calling our cell phones, how they got our numbers I don’t know but it is disturbing!!

  • MarcEEE October 8, 2011 (12:26 pm)

    (required), you don’t know what you’re talking about. The warning was put out so people don’t get scammed by this thing. The POLICE investigate crimes – not the AG, not the U.S. Attorney (additionally, the AG isn’t a prosecutor – they only take cases if the governor or a county prosecutor asks them to). So you can use this thing to complain about politicians, but the fact is, tracking these people down is extremely complicated, and the people who are supposed to do it are SPD, WSP, FBI, etc, not lawyers who take the case after the bad guys are caught.

  • Heath October 8, 2011 (12:27 pm)

    This iis kind of scary. I haven’t received one of these calls and I do not have a Wells Fargo account but on two occasions my bank’s fraud dept has called me about questionable purchases (legitimately) so if these scammers called me in the same way I received those other calls I might have fallen for it depending on what they asked me. Yikes!

  • oddreality October 8, 2011 (6:46 pm)

    Woowhoo…I got my call from wells Fargo today at 5pm.My phone gave no number just came through as “unknown”.

  • Craig October 8, 2011 (6:54 pm)

    Call came from 378-324-2836 and said my Wells Fargo card had been disabled. I don’t own one.

  • (required) October 8, 2011 (11:02 pm)

    Thanks, MarcEEE, but with what due respect you may think you’re entitled to, I disagrEEE as to who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. You see, prosecutors (the elected ones I mentioned) actually do work with investigators. You see, when they want to see cases investigated and prosecuted, they reach out and talk to investigators. They encourage them to take the steps needed to crack cases. While the “cops” as you call them do investigate crimes and do refer cases for prosecution on their own, much of the time without guidance or suggestion from the prosecutors they refer cases to, no “cops” are referring cases like this example of Wells Fargo fraud — nor are the prosecutors helping them to get these cases solved. And that’s the problem. The prosecutors who claim they want to fight crime are just sitting idly on the sidelines, watching these crimes proliferate, watching the usual and sundry assortment of cases come in for prosecution — but they know fraud like this goes unprosecuted. You see, a prosecutor’s job isn’t only to sit back and read affidavits of probable cause, go to court, and then go home. They owe it to all of us to figure out what crimes aren’t being prosecuted and help work with investigators and other branches of law enforcement to bring those criminals to justice. So don’t miss my point: they’re not doing enough, and they need to. So does the FBI. But we could eliminate the FTC overnight without anyone noticing, exceopt we’d notice a significant savings from the useless drivel they create. This case doesn’t need a “warning,” it needs to be investigated, solved, and prosecuted. But mark my word, it won’t happen. The Washington residents who are taken by this scam will never have justice. But, MarcEEE, since you do know that each of the three prosecutors is a lawyer, here’s three gold stars to make you feel better. Thanks for playing.

  • C October 10, 2011 (9:20 pm)

    I got calls at one and three in the morning one night. It really pissed me off.

  • Sam October 11, 2011 (4:33 pm)

    Got this as a text today. Husband called bank and his account was fine.

  • Brandon October 12, 2011 (12:59 pm)

    My wife received a call last night at like 10pm same MO

  • K October 13, 2011 (6:38 am)

    Got one at 3:48 this morning from the number originally mentioned. Grrrrr!

  • DRS October 18, 2011 (10:55 am)

    Got this call again last night from an “Unknown” number. Actually had some fun running their program in circles for a while with fake numbers.

  • Krissie October 18, 2011 (2:04 pm)


  • Same October 21, 2011 (5:15 pm)

    Just received 3 phone calls in 5 minutes. Didn’t answer. Also received texts. Don’t have a Wells account. Googled number and found this blog…

  • Beth October 22, 2011 (12:40 pm)

    Phone calls last night at 2:50am, 2:55am & 3:01am. Googled the number and found this blog, too. Scum.

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