The Wells Fargo credit card scam involved Wells Fargo employees who opened more than 565,000 phony credit card accounts. Employees also received company incentive bonuses for meeting or exceeding quotas based on the sham accounts. In addition to the fraudulent credit cards, Wells Fargo employees also opened fake checking and savings accounts. In total, Wells Fargo employees opened 3.5 million+ bogus accounts without customers’ consent. In addition, employees racked up more than $400,000 in bills, primarily in annual fees, overdraft protection fees, interest charges and late fees, just on the illegitimate credit card accounts.
Wells Fargo fired more than 5,300 employees linked to the credit card/bank account scam starting in 2011. However, it later came out that unauthorized accounts were being opened as early as 2002. In September 2016, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and numerous other regulatory agencies slapped the bank with a combined $185 million in fines. In a class action lawsuit, Wells Fargo also agreed to pay nearly $142 million to its affected customers. Additional related civil and criminal lawsuits to date have cost the bank a total of more than $3 billion.
Since the Wells Fargo credit card scam erupted, the bank has launched national ad campaigns addressing its mistakes while attempting to rebuild credibility. But new consumer credit card and checking account applications slowed significantly in the months after the CFPB fines were announced. And in 2018, Wells Fargo’s consumer sentiment rating was 91% negative, according to the web-analytics firm TickerTags. Sentiment was 74% negative just a few months after the 2016 scandal.
WalletHub Answers is a free service that helps consumers access financial information. Information on WalletHub Answers is provided “as is” and should not be considered financial, legal or investment advice. WalletHub is not a financial advisor, law firm, “lawyer referral service,” or a substitute for a financial advisor, attorney, or law firm. You may want to hire a professional before making any decision. WalletHub does not endorse any particular contributors and cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of any information posted. The helpfulness of a financial advisor's answer is not indicative of future advisor performance.
WalletHub members have a wealth of knowledge to share, and we encourage everyone to do so while respecting our content guidelines
. Please keep in mind that editorial and user-generated content on this page is not reviewed or otherwise endorsed by any financial institution. In addition, it is not a financial institution’s responsibility to ensure all posts and questions are answered.