PEORIA, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- Henry Croner is 77, lives alone and is battling kidney failure. “Two days a week I go to kidney dialysis,” Henry told 3 On Your Side. “Other than that, I'm here in my apartment.”
Henry says the one thing that gets him through day to day is seeing his 8-year-old great grandson. "He's the light of my life,” Henry said crying. “I'm sorry, my wife passed away too,” he said as he wiped his eyes.
So, imagine a scammer taking advantage of this senior citizen. Well, it happened recently when Henry got a phone call. “He said he was with Amazon and said we're about to renew your account. And I said no, I'm not interested, and he said well you're entitled to a $50 refund and I said okay."
The scammer convinced Henry to go to his computer and to log on to his Wells Fargo bank account. Once there, Henry typed in $50.00 for his so-called credit. But right in front of Henry's eyes, the $50 changed to $5,000. "He said, oh you put in $5,000 and I said no, you put in $5,000. And then he said he had to get that money back or that he'd be in trouble," Henry remembers the scammer telling him.
What Henry didn't know is that he had inadvertently allowed the scammer to remotely access his computer while he was on his bank account. “I said, okay, so I put in all my information and he remotely controlled everything."
Henry says he saw the cursor moving around on his screen.
And before he knew it, $4,300 out of that $5,000 was fraudulently removed from his account. "I mean I'm 77 years old. I live on a fixed income," Henry said.
He says he filed a complaint with Wells Fargo. But, following their investigation, they initially declined to return Henry's money.
However, after 3 Your Side got involved and provided additional information, the bank discovered the issue was a clear case of fraud and returned all $4,300 back to Henry.
This viewer is absolutely thrilled to have his money back.
Wells Fargo was great to work with and 3 On Your Side appreciates the bank taking a second look at the issue.
Wells Fargo also provided tips below to help avoid this scam and others that are like it.
Those tips and their statement are below.
Thank you for contacting Wells Fargo with respect to this customer complaint. Due to customer privacy and confidentiality, we cannot comment on specific customer claims or accounts. However, our customer’s experience with the bank and account security is important to us. When we become aware of a customer complaint, we diligently investigate the claim and discuss our findings directly with our customer. We have been in contact with and advised our customer of our actions in response to our findings.
We would also like to take this opportunity to provide some fraud prevention tips as the attempts are becoming more commonplace. One in seven older Americans say they have fallen victim to elder financial abuse and exploitation.
Wells Fargo advises all consumers to:
- Use caution if you receive an email or text expressing an urgent need for you to update your information, activate your online banking account, or verify your identity by clicking on a link.
- If you receive an email or text message requesting sensitive information, do not respond. Delete it.
- If you receive a suspicious phone call requesting your information or access to your account, hang up and contact the company using a legitimate source such as a phone number on the company’s website.
- If you are a Wells Fargo customer who received this text message and clicked on the link or provided information via phone, call us immediately at 1-866-867-5568.