Fraud Prevention and Cybersecurity Tips – Wells Fargo

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Fraud Prevention and Cybersecurity Tips

Follow these tips to help protect yourself from fraud and identity theft.

Protect your accounts

Identity protection

  • Store your Social Security card, passport, green card, financial documents, and unused credit, debit, or ATM cards in a secure location.
  • Never provide your personal or financial information to a caller unless you initiated the call or other communication.
  • Don't send personal or financial information through email or text, as this is typically not secure.
  • Shred documents that contain sensitive information before discarding.
  • If available, set up additional safeguards when contacting customer service, such as Voice Verification, to help prevent others from impersonating you over the phone.
  • Sign up for online billing and financial statements to help reduce the risk of identity theft from stolen paper documents.
  • Review your credit report at least once a year to look for unauthorized accounts that are opened in your name. Receive a free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com.
  • Help protect against child identity theft by limiting the type of information shared with schools and organizations.

Account and card security

  • Report lost or stolen ATM, debit card, credit card, checks, or account numbers immediately.
  • Monitor your transactions online regularly and report suspicious or unauthorized charges right away.
  • Set up alerts so you can track online purchases, ATM withdrawals, and more. If you spot suspicious activity, report it immediately.
  • Keep your contact information up to date so we can reach you if we detect unusual activity on your account.
  • Limit the amount of information printed on your checks to your name and address. Don't include your phone number or Social Security number.
  • Always keep your checks, debit, ATM, and credit cards in a secure place.
  • Don't give out your account information over the phone unless you initiated the call using the phone number on the back of your card or the company’s website.
  • If you receive a replacement debit or credit card, cut up and discard your old card.
  • If you misplace your card, turn it off temporarily and back on when you find it.
  • Use a digital wallet for purchases so that your digital card number is sent to the merchant, not your debit or credit card information.

PIN protection for debit and ATM cards

  • When choosing a Personal Identification Number (PIN) for your ATM or debit card, don't use a number or word that appears in your wallet, such as name, birth date, or phone number. If you forgot your PIN or want to change it, follow these instructions.
  • Don't share your card's PIN with anyone or provide it through a text message, email, or phone call.
  • Cover the keypad while entering your PIN at an ATM, grocery store, or other locations.
  • Don't write your PIN anywhere, especially on your card.
  • Safely store or securely dispose of your transaction receipts.

Protect yourself online

Online security

  • Create a unique username and password for your Wells Fargo accounts and don't use any part of your email address. For your password, use an uncommon phrase that includes a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters, for example: Iliketogive99!Presents. The longer the password, the harder it is to crack. To change your username or password, sign on and select Change Password or Change Username in the menu.
  • Protect your online passwords. Don’t write them down or share them with anyone, including family or friends. 
  • Some browsers and smartphones allow you to save your username and password, commonly referred to as AutoSave or AutoFill. We recommend you disable this feature for Wells Fargo Online® and the Wells Fargo Mobile® app so that others cannot access your accounts and you don’t accidentally get locked out when you change your username and password. If you don’t share your device, you can use the Save username feature on wellsfargo.com and the mobile app to sign on.
  • Activate 2-Step Verification at Sign-On for an additional layer of security when you sign on to online or mobile banking by having Wells Fargo send an access code to a device, such as your mobile phone.
  • When shopping online, use secure websites to make purchases. Look for signs of secure transaction, such as a closed-lock icon and “https://...” in the address bar.
  • Always sign off from any website after you make a purchase with your credit or debit card. If you cannot sign off, close your browser to help prevent unauthorized access to your account information.
  • Don't overshare on social media, especially information used by your bank or other companies to verify your identity. Set your social media profile to private and restrict your contacts to people you know personally. See more social media tips.

Email and text message

  • If you receive a suspicious email or text message, don’t respond, click any links, or open attachments. Don’t sign on to your account from a link in a suspicious message. Learn how to spot and report phishing email and text scams.
  • For your security, Wells Fargo may contact you by email, text, or phone regarding your card or account activity. When Wells Fargo contacts you, we will not ask for your card PIN, access code, or your online banking password. If you are uncomfortable about a request for information, do not respond and instead call the number on the back of your debit or credit card to verify the request.
  • Five-digit short codes are commonly used by companies to send text messages. Add trusted short codes and phone numbers to your contact list so you recognize them when you receive a text. Wells Fargo’s official short codes include: 935-57, 937-33, 937-29, or 546-87.
  • Create a unique password for your email account and don't share it with anyone. If scammers gain access to your email account, they can reset your passwords for other websites and lock you out. Wells Fargo password resets are not initiated by email.

Online document storage (Cloud)

  • Before saving financial documents to a third-party, online storage service, carefully review the provider’s security and privacy settings and terms of service, as well as our Online Access Agreement. Wells Fargo cannot ensure the security of your information after you download it from our website or servers.
  • If you use a cloud-based service or website to store financial documents, ensure that the site has security features such as required log-in and data encryption denoted by "https" in the address bar.
  • Storing your financial documents online may make them searchable and accessible to others, exposing your sensitive information. If you need to download a financial document, save it locally on your computer or on a ‎secure storage device.
  • Wells Fargo maintains online statements and tax documents for a period of time, which varies by product type. Refer to the Statements & Documents page in online banking for more details.

Online account aggregators

  • Before providing your username and password to third-party websites or apps to access your Wells Fargo information, carefully review the provider’s security and privacy settings and terms of service, as well as our Online Access Agreement. Wells Fargo cannot ensure the security of your information after it becomes accessible through another company’s website or app.
  • Use Control Tower® to view your connected apps such as, Xero, Mint, and Earnin.

Protect your devices

Mobile and device security

  • Protect your phone by setting up a PIN with your mobile carrier so no one other than you can make changes to your account or transfer your service to a different mobile phone.
  • Safeguard your phone to help protect your accounts. When you’re not using your phone, use the built-in security functions to lock it.
  • Don't access your financial accounts through public Wi-Fi networks, such as those available in coffee shops or airports.
  • Wipe your phone of all personal data before discarding or selling it.
  • If you change your number, sign on to Wells Fargo Online® to update your contact information so we can reach you if we detect unusual account activity.
  • If your phone is lost or stolen, contact your mobile service provider to determine if the mobile service should be shut off.  Contact Wells Fargo for assistance with disabling your biometric sign on (Touch ID®, Face ID®, fingerprint or facial recognition), digital wallet, or FastLook service.
  • Don't store your banking password or other sensitive information on your computer, smartphone, or in an app where it could be discovered if your device is stolen.
  • When you finish banking online, always sign off - don't simply close the browser or app. For your security, Wells Fargo's mobile apps and online banking site will automatically sign you off after 10 minutes of inactivity.
  • Don't alter, remove carrier restrictions, or "jail break" your phone. This may make your phone vulnerable to malicious software.
  • Only download applications and programs from a trusted source, like your mobile phone’s app store or the manufacturer’s website.
  • Keep security patches, anti-virus and malware removal programs, browser versions, mobile apps, and plugins up to date on all your devices.
  • Ensure the automatic updates feature is enabled in your settings so that software updates will automatically download and install to help protect your phone with the latest security upgrades.
  • Secure your home router with a strong password to help protect devices on your network from unauthorized access. 
  • Sign-on to the Wells Fargo Mobile® app using fingerprint or facial recognition, instead of entering your username and password. If you share your phone, we don't recommend using these features to authenticate.
    • When fingerprint authentication is enabled, any person with a saved fingerprint registered on your phone can sign on to the Wells Fargo Mobile® app, view your account information, and complete transactions. For facial authentication, if you have family members who look like you, we recommend using your username and password to sign on. 

Protect the elderly

Elder financial abuse

  • Watch out for scams that attempt to trick older adults into sending gift cards or money, or giving up personal information or property. These scenarios may include scammers posing as technical support, IRS/Medicare representatives, grandchildren, love interests, or lottery/sweepstakes officials.
  • Encourage older adults to get to know their neighbors and connect frequently with family. Isolation is often a contributing factor to elder financial abuse.
  • Look out for signs of financial abuse by caregivers or relatives, such as requests for financial help or unexpected payments.
  • Find out more about how to help protect against elder financial abuse.