By Perly Viasmensky
A Utah company representing Wells Fargo might be scamming customers by charging more money than they are supposed to and it makes one wonder if the bank knows about it and is therefore in some way associated with the scam.
This is how it works: Wells Fargo sends an email to its customers asking them to participate in a survey; after asking several immaterial questions, they end the survey.
The company claims to be located in the neighboring state of Utah, but the employees of the call center speak with a foreign accent most likely from the Philippines, but they cannot divulge their location for “security reasons.” They offer a gift for participating in the survey, and the bank customer needs only to pay for the shipping and handling.
Up to now everything is fine, but when the bank customer checks their bank statement online, they discover that instead of one shipping and handling fee there were three separate charges for that one shipping and handling charge.
It could have been considered a human error, but a red flag came up when the bank customer discovers that the same three shipping and handling charges were duplicated in the customer’s personal account, making it look like all those overcharges with the bank’s blessings.
Because of the coronavirus, with most employees working from home, there is no way to track the transactions and therefore it is very easy to get away with the fraud.
The bank, instead of stopping payment on the transaction, immediately “cancels” the debit card making it impossible for the bank customer to use their card on other transactions or bill payments. The customer is unable to use the card for other previous obligations causing some services to be interrupted, incurring late fees or charges for reinstallation of the customer’s terminated utility.
Another very popular scam due to the coronavirus “opportunity”—the fact that many company’s employees are working from home and many customers are using online services—is when companies text a phone number and advise the person that they have a problem collecting the monthly service fees.
“We had an issue while processing this month’s payment for your Netflix,” but it so happens that the phone subscriber does not have Netflix service. Or, “Dear Netflix user, Our system just detected that there is a payment error related to your account. In order to continue enjoying our services we need you to update your payment data…”
And, “To verify that you are the owner of the account, please type in the email address associated with your Netflix account and press continue.”
Most people without realizing what they are doing type in their email address and send it, incurring a new charge without knowing that they have been taken.
The scams on the internet are getting to be more prevalent every day and it’s no wonder that people refuse to use the internet; some companies get upset when they cannot make the client or customer do more online.
Cox Communications, Wells Fargo Bank, Allstate and many other big companies are guilty of facilitating the scammers in taking advantage of their customers.
Using online services may sound handy and faster, but in reality, it takes about the same time to punch in a phone number and the risk is less. Think about it: when the scam occurred, none of those companies were willing to help fix the problem that they helped facilitate.
Soon many people will be replaced by robots, computers and online services; just recently, buying a car online became very normal, bypassing the car salesmen and soon there will be no more car dealers.
Welcome to the world of technology!!!
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Perly Viasmensky is the General Manager of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Perly Viasmensky, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Perly Viasmensky