Wells Fargo customer loses thousands in 'very elaborate' text scam

This woman is not your typical scam victim. She is a tech-savvy millennial who now has a warning for everyone.

It all started with a text message, and then immediately followed by a phone call. The caller ID showed Wells Fargo's bona fide customer service line.

Katie Callaway, 31, was familiar with that number as she is the bank's customer.

"I've spoken with Wells Fargo in the past where they needed to confirm my identity, so it seemed very standard procedure," Callaway said.

She even remembered the man on the line being professional and convincing. Callaway, who works in the tech space, did not notice anything suspicious and nothing about the phone call resembled the scams she would warn her parents about.

"I believed that the bank was actually calling me and notifying me of some fraudulent charges on my account. I told them no, I had not been purchasing X-Y-Z," Callaway said. "All they needed was just for me to verify. One text message they sent to me to confirm the identity on my account.

That single text message she responded to instantly initiated a wire transfer of just over $4,200.

To add insult to injury, Callaway was also hit with wire transfer fees.

According to a written response from her bank, Callaway is held liable for the online wires. Because of the bank's apparent policies, the young woman could not get the money back.

Now, she is hoping the same won't happen to others.

"It was very, very elaborate," Callaway said of the scam.

Wells Fargo released the following statement, "We never want to see anyone become a victim of a scam and are actively working to raise awareness of common scams to help prevent these heartbreaking incidents.  It’s important for everyone to be vigilant and aware of common scams to avoid falling victim. Be wary of unexpected calls, texts, social media posts, or emails from scammers impersonating banks, tech support companies and government agencies. Don’t be afraid to end communication with the person who contacted you and take time to research.

Additional Points

  • Don't give your account information or access codes to anyone you don’t know or a company you can’t verify as a legitimate.
  • If you give a scammer access to your accounts and they remove funds, you may not be able to get your money back.
  • Our work to prevent scams is a priority and we’re increasing our education efforts through alerts in online banking sessions, customer communications, and our Online Security Center."