Fake Wells Fargo text leads to SoCal veteran getting scammed out of more than $3K

Carlos Granda Image
Saturday, December 11, 2021
SoCal vet scammed out of thousands after getting fake Wells Fargo text
A veteran from Southern California is still distressed that all the money he had in several accounts is now gone after he responded to a text message that appeared to come from Wells Fargo.

Benjamin Gardner is still distressed that all the money he had in several accounts - $3,400 - is now gone.

"Very depressed... somebody stole my money," he says.

It started with a text message that appeared to come from Wells Fargo alerting him of a charge.

"'Did you make these transactions?' And instantly I responded 'No, I refute that,'" the Navy veteran explained.

As it turns out it was a scammer who then called him. He says the caller ID said Wells Fargo.

"And I said 'Well, how do I know that it's you?' and he said 'Check the number,'" Gardner says.

He checked and it was Wells Fargo.

"He got me to login, and I assume that he was looking exactly at the numbers in my bank account because he knew exactly how much to extract from the checking and the savings," Gardner says.

The scammer convinced him to send money using Zelle, claiming it would go back to his account. Gardner then went to a Wells Fargo branch and people there gave him the bad news.

"It was like slow motion. I knew something bad had happened," Gardner says.

Gardner was told he was the victim of a scam.

He notified Wells Fargo, which investigated but said in a letter there was little it could do.

"To be robbed under the guise of Wells Fargo... I think that is such trickery," Gardner says.

Wells Fargo couldn't comment specifically about Gardner's case but told Eyewitness News: "Although it may not always be possible to recover the funds on behalf of victims, Wells Fargo works together with other financial institutions and law enforcement to help identify suspects and recover funds when possible."

Wells Fargo says scammers can spoof their caller ID number and use bits of personal information to convince people to reveal their access codes and steal money.

To avoid this the bank says "...never share your temporary access codes or PIN with anyone who calls you unexpectedly. Your bank or the government will never ask you for this information."

Gardner, who is a Navy veteran, says he is speaking out to alert others of this holiday scam.

"I can't imagine other veterans who are already maybe having some mental challenges going through that around the holidays," Gardner says.