What happens when the management of your bank burdens its employees with unrealistic targets? Well, apart from the work pressure and high stress for the employees, the risk of fraud for you by your own bank also increases. This is what exactly happened in Wells Fargo; the largest American international banking and financial services holding company by stock market value that fired 5300 employees for a scam that included opening up accounts without customer permission and subsequently charging the customer fee. The bank has now to pay $100 million to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, $50 million to city and county of Los Angeles and $35 million in penalties to the Office of the Comptroller of the currencies. Getting duped by your own bank is the biggest scam one can ever face. Not only it leads to loss of money but it also erodes our faith and trust in the formal financial system. While the bank management needs to provide such a working ecosystem to the employees that does not force them to perform scam transactions; it also our responsibility as a customer to keep an eye on what is happening with our accounts.
In this article, Cyware brings to you the steps you should take to safeguard yourself from fraud by your own bank.
- Regularly monitor your accounts: Every customer should regularly monitor their all bank accounts. This is to be done for indications of any unauthorized fees. In Wells Fargo scam the money lost ultimately came from the accounts of the customers who were charged unauthorized fees. It should be the duty of every customer to check the bank statements of their all accounts regularly. While it might be a little boring but it’s better than losing money, Isn’t it? Nowadays it’s quite easy to go through bank statements as they are provided in the electronic form and are also regularly emailed to the customers by the banks.
- Get a Social Security check done at your bank: When you visit your bank next, ask them to do a social security number search or name search on the account database. This can help you know if there are any accounts opened under your name without your consent.
- Beware of Pending Charges: The scam money is charged from customers and it is often listed as “Pending Charges”. Whenever you come across such charges, make sure you thoroughly investigate them. In case of Wells Fargo, the bank customers never bothered to check their account statements and pending charges for they had too much trust in the bank.
- Make limited use of Monitoring services: Don’t rely completely on monitoring services. They might not be able to pickup all new accounts opened in your name such as online accounts solely meant for shopping. Always keep a vigil on your accounts by yourself because only you are the best guardian of your own money.
- Use Security Freeze: Security freezes are designed to prevent a credit reporting company from releasing your credit report without your consent. This will prevent the banking officials from getting access to your credit report. Only authorized people may get access and that too after approval by you. However you should note that using Credit Freeze may delay, interfere with or prohibit the timely approval of any subsequent request or application you make regarding a new loan, credit, mortgage, insurance etc. Click here to know more on Security Freeze