How exactly were employees ripping off account holders? There were four basic ways, according to the CFPB:
- Opening new deposit accounts and transferring customer money: As many as 1.5 million accounts may have been opened in the name of customers without their knowledge or permission. Employees would transfer customer money into these new accounts, subsequently generating $2 million in overdraft and other related fees.
- Applying for credit cards: Employees applied for about 565,000 credit cards on behalf of unwitting customers, who were then on the hook for annual fees, late fees, and interest charges that amounted to a little over $400,000.
- Activating new debit cards: Without permission, workers requested and issued new debit cards to account holders, often creating new PIN numbers for them in the process.
- Using bogus email addresses to sign people up for services: To enroll customers in online banking services without their knowledge, Wells Fargo employees would use email addresses unrelated to the account holder.