Let’s be clear: The details of what happened at Wells Fargo Bank were not good. Over several years, employees at the bank opened two million credit-card and bank accounts in customers’ names without their permission. All this went down under the noses of the bank’s management, who were driving employees to meet such onerous production quotas. So far, more than 5,000 employees have lost their jobs, including CEO John Stumpf, and Wells has paid tens of millions of dollars in fines.
But consider this: As far as banking scandals go, it’s pretty small. The bank estimates that the rip-off amounts to about $2.5 million spread over millions of accounts in the form of fraudulent credit-card and bank fees. (Remember that Bernie Madoff was on the hook for more than $50 billion affecting thousands of people.)
Now, it’s in banks’ best interests not to screw up in this manner, which is why at least so far the phony account scandal appears to be localized at Wells. But that doesn’t mean it can’t happen, of course. So here are three simple tips to make sure everything’s above board with your money:
- Call your bank and ask for any accounts under your name. If something sounds off, dig deeper.
- Periodically check your credit report and look at your bank statements for any weird activity.
- Raise holy hell if you catch your bank doing anything untoward.
Charles Gasparino is a Senior Correspondent at Fox Business Network and a columnist for Men’s Fitness. Follow him on Twitter.