A Cautionary Reminder Regarding Banking Safety


NBC News article “Phony Bank Accounts Resurface at Wells Fargo, with a Twist” by Grethen Morgenson tells the unfortunate story of Jay Patterson, an accountant from Little Rock, Arkansas who discovered that there was a fraudulent account under his name at Wells Fargo. In June 2022, Patterson received a bank statement from Wells Fargo showing $12 in a checking account in his name—he had never been a Wells Fargo member. Upon further investigation, Patterson uncovered that Wells Fargo had his social security number and his home address linked to the fraudulent account, even though he had never done business with them and never gave them any of his personal information. Over $15,000 flowed through that account, and Patterson was never notified for any activity in that account. Patterson contacted Wells Fargo and they assured him that they closed the fraudulent account; however, three months later, he received a postcard from Wells Fargo alerting him that they changed the address on his account, meaning that the fraudulent account was not closed. Even after Wells Fargo assured that they closed his account, it was still in use.

Given that our firm deals with money transmittal and works closely with banks, we believe that Patterson’s alarming story should act as a cautionary reminder to be hypervigilant about banking safety for all of our current and potential clients. Unfortunately, we live in a world where bank fraud is quite common. Patterson’s story is an example of many; in 2016, Wells Fargo, the nation’s 4th largest bank, was found to have opened millions of unauthorized accounts to meet their sales goals. It is extremely important to always monitor your own identity to ensure that you and your assets are safe. Scammers are also unfortunately becoming increasingly popular. Never give away your information over the phone—fake phone calls, texts, and emails from banks are very common. Unfortunately, in this day and age, it is so vital to be alert to safeguard your own identity. Specifically in terms of banking, make sure to do everything in a controlled, timely manner to ensure your safety.

If you have any concerns regarding your bank safety, or any additional questions, feel free to contact our firm.

Recent Articles

How You Can Help Address Discriminatory Bank Practices 

Navigating EB-5 Investment visa program in compliance with U.S sanctions regulations - Part 1

What you need to know if you have an account in a Russian bank

What is “Solh-e Omra” (life estate deed), and why does it require U.S. persons to apply for a specific license to transfer proceeds from Iran to the U.S.

How does OFAC define an Iranian account, and why it should matter to you!