Spin The Wheel, Get A Different Story About Why Wells Fargo Flagged Your Card

Craig’s Wells Fargo debit card was flagged for fraud because he was trying to buy a speaker at a high-traffic Apple Store. A merchant he made a recent purchase from has been hacked, and he will receive a new debit card soon. He’s finally receiving an “upgraded” Wells Fargo card for his former Wachovia account, even though the account changed over more than a year ago.

Each of these stories has been told to Craig on separate interactions with Wells Fargo. The problem is, he doesn’t know which one is true. And neither does the bank.

On Sunday January 29, I went to the Apple store in Grand Central Station to buy a speaker. When I went to pay, my Wells Fargo debit card was declined. I called the number on the back of the card and spoke to a representative. The representative said that the attempted transaction had raised a fraud flag, most likely due to the high rate of fraudulent purchases at the Apple store. After confirming my recent transactions, he said that I was all set. I hung up and went to pay, but my card was again declined. I called the number on the back of the card again and spoke with a different representative who then transferred me to the fraud department.

The fraud department said that a merchant had been hacked, and as a precautionary measure, the merchant had self-reported the possible compromise of my card. The representative said that a new card was sent to me on Friday, two days prior. This was news to me because I received no notification that my card had been compromised or that a new card had been issued. No unauthorized transactions showed up in my online banking. I was upset that I hadn’t been kept in the loop, but the fraud department representative said that she would remove the fraud flag from my card so that I could complete the transaction and continue to use my card.

That was 9 days ago. My card has not arrived, but my old card still works. This morning, I received a robo-call from Wells Fargo requesting that I activate my card. Despite not having the card, I called the number, got through to a representative, and told her the back story.

This time I got a completely different story. The representative said that my card had been “upgraded” from a Wachovia card to a Wells Fargo card with new limits, and that it had been issued and sent out last Thursday (5 days ago) and not the Friday before (9 days ago) as I had been previously told. She denied that I had been issued a new card because my old card had been compromised.

None of this makes any sense because my current card is a Wells Fargo card and it doesn’t expire until 2014. Was this an attempt by Wells Fargo to generate new fees by getting me to agree to use a different card? I asked the representative, but she insisted that it was due to the conversion of my account from Wachovia to Wells Fargo. (My account was issued in Alabama by a bank that was gobbled up by Wachovia; my account was converted to Wells Fargo more than a year ago.)

The representative then said that the computer was prompting her to verify my recent transactions. I told her there was no need because I was looking any my online banking and did not see any unauthorized transactions. She insisted, so we verified each transaction. Then she noticed that I had two transactions, one posted and one pending, both for $104 for the Metro card that I purchased yesterday. I told her that I had tried to purchase a Metro card yesterday, but the transaction did not go through when running my card as “credit.” I ran the card again as an ATM transaction, input my PIN, and the transaction went through.

While I noticed the pending $104 transaction prior to the call, I was not inclined to dispute it until it actually posted. Having worked as a teller at the gobbled-up bank a decade ago, I know that these pending transactions usually go away after a few days if no transaction actually goes through. I told the representative that I would just dispute it if it posted, but she insisted on creating a claim and transferring me to the claims department. After waiting on hold for 10 minutes, the claims department told me that I should monitor my account and call back if it actually posts–the same plan I had before I called.

Was my card compromised? Is Wells Fargo trying to push a new product on me? Or was my only sin shopping at the Apple store? I’m afraid to ever call back, lest I get one more different story.

You could keep calling in, and whatever story you hear twice just might be the correct one. Or maybe someone in one of the fancier stagecoaches at Wells Fargo can put you in touch with someone who has enough power to know what’s actually going on.


Edit Your Comment

  1. raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

    I wonder what that Apple store is doing if it has become a famous hotbed of credit card fraud … Do the employees know? Are they part of the gasp conspiracy!!!??

    • deathbecomesme says:

      Apple products resell value is pretty high. A brand new in box item especially. So it’s a no brainer if you were going to be selling stolen/ill gotten goods which brand of stuff you want to sell to get the most for your buck

      Someone buys credit card info then goes and makes fraudulent credit cards with the same info. Walks into Apple store to buy an iphone/ipad and then sells it on Craigslist.

      • kc2idf says:

        Additionally, since the store is in a busy train station, the product purchased could end up anywhere in a several-county radius beyond just the five boroughs.

  2. Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

    Your only ‘sin’ was staying with Wells Fargo after enduring Wachovia. Masochist?

    Either way, yeah they’re giving you the run around, likely caused by having lots of different reason codes and whatnot left over from multiple database conversions.

  3. ThunderRoad says:

    Obvious solution is to close your Wells Fargo account and open one with someone halfway competent.

  4. HalOfBorg says:

    I am SO glad that the only time anything like this ever happened to me was when we put gas in both cars and later I filled the gas can. 3 gas purchases in a day triggered a fraud alert, but I had to be declined somewhere to find out. Called them and they fixed it.

    • runchadrun says:

      I had a Chase card declined for “buying gas in 3 different states over 3 days.” Umm, those states were New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia and the car was a rental car (picked up in NY, dropped off in VA) paid for with the same Chase card, as were the plane tickets and the hotel for that vacation.

  5. Earl Butz says:

    This is precisely why I left Wells Fargo – my account had been compromised and they could not tell me how, when, or for how much.

    That’s not acceptable.

  6. MPD01605 says:

    Like everyone else is saying, open an account somewhere else. This isn’t really acceptable.

  7. homehome says:

    Happened to my account with them before, they fixed the issue in an hour, pretty painless

  8. Boehme417 says:

    Grand Central TERMINAL

  9. g051051 says:

    My old Wells Fargo card was due for replacement in March, but my card stopped working in february. I contacted Wells Fargo, and they said they’d issued a new card and that my old one was deactivated. This of course was a disaster, since they cancelled it a full month early, didn’t notify me, then claimed that they couldn’t reactivate the old card since the new one had been issued. I had a bunch of automatic monthly charges declined, and didn’t have access to my credit anymore. So I just cancelled the account and immediately signed up with a new provider. It sucked to lose my high credit limit, but I couldn’t trust them anymore.

  10. smartypants503 says:

    switch your bank….duh

  11. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:


  12. APCO25guy says:

    I’m convinced there is a bag of Wells Fargo/Wachovia debit/check cards sitting in someone’s basement somewhere. I run a small non-profit that has a “legacy” (whatever that means) Wachovia non-profit checking account we’ve had for years. It doesn’t cost us anything. After the conversion to WellsFargo in late 2010, we were supposed to get new cards. The card I had expired in June of 2011. I spent close to 5 months trying to get a new one. Several calls, and they’d always be “in the mail” but never arrive. No fraudulent activity on the account. It finally took getting the manager of the local WF branch involved, and I had to have the card sent to the branch. According to the local WF manager, it’s a “problem they’re aware of”.

    I’m not the only one, I know several other former Wachovia customers battling the same issue. I often wonder if it’s a move to make low revenue Wachova customers piss off and go away?

  13. skakh says:

    Same thing recently happened to me. Wells Fargo “temporarily” froze my account. Calling WF I got different reasons ranging from “I can’t tell you” to “a female called to change the billing address.” WF told me I was “required” to visit a WF branch to discuss, the closest WF office is nearly 30 miles from me. I told them where to stick their little card. For some reason WF won’t close my account. It is still frozen but, even after three letters, WF won’t close the account. WF regularly sends me offers because I am a valued customer. Really, how valuable can I be? The country is run by morons.