Last spring, Mom was completely taken in by a horrible scam. She received a call from someone who identified himself as a police detective in San Diego, where they were holding my nephew for being in a taxi cab that was stopped for a traffic violation, and drugs were found in the vehicle. My mother has never been easily tricked, but these guys were really skilled. She even asked for a return number, and when she called it, the voice on the other end confirmed that it was the San Diego police department. I can’t fathom how they pulled that off.
Anyway, they told her that my nephew, Jon, was being held on $2,000 bail. Jon lives on the west coast, so it didn’t seem like too much of a stretch with regard to location. They also admitted that Jon was most likely an innocent victim of the cab driver’s crime, but that he would still need to post bail. They instructed her to purchase these cash cards that could easily transfer funds with the serial numbers.
In a most sincere effort to help shield my sister from the worry of this financial burden and stressful ordeal, Mom wanted to take care of it. She made all of the obvious inquiries about the situation and asked if she could speak to Jon personally. They told her that his phone had been confiscated when he was arrested.
Although she felt extremely uneasy with the lack of information and bizarre instructions, she certainly didn’t want Jon to be detained any longer than necessary. So, she drove to Wells Fargo to speak with someone about how to get the $2,000 cash. She really didn’t want to take a cash advance from her credit card because of the high interest and cash advance fees.
The Wells Fargo branch manager suggested that she apply for a personal line of credit. If approved, she could access the cash immediately, and at a much lower interest rate than she would pay if she took an advance from her credit card. Wells Fargo approved her immediately. She withdrew the $2,000 and went to purchase the cash cards from the local drug store.
When Mom called the police station to give them the serial numbers from the cash cards for the bail payment, the “officer” told her that she’d need an additional amount of money. When she returned to Wells Fargo for another draw from her new line of credit, the branch manager raised a flag of concern about her transactions. He asked if she would authorize him to intercede. After a few strategic phone calls that he made that went just slightly beyond her investigation, they were able to determine that this was, in fact, a crime. Although much of the damage had already been done, Mom was able to recover about $500 from one of the cash cards that had not been redeemed by the scammers, and no more advances were drawn from her account. That bit of quick thinking by her Wells Fargo representative saved her from a much greater loss.
The Wells Fargo staff members were true heroes to our family. They certainly went above and beyond their jobs to protect our mom from any more predatory harm. And, as a result of their exceptional customer service, several family members have transferred their accounts to Wells Fargo. It’s become our family bank of choice now.