Rental scam victim gets happy news as Wells Fargo agrees to reimburse some funds lost via Zelle

Friday, January 27, 2023
Rental scam victim elated as bank reimburses some funds lost via Zelle
The Bakersfield man was told there was no protection for funds sent via Zelle to the fake "landlord." Now, the bank will cover some of the loss.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGO) -- 7 On Your Side has been receiving a mountain of complaints about scams using Zelle. This particular story begins about six months ago when 7 On Your Side heard from a consumer who tried to rent an apartment but ended up being scammed through Zelle.

PREVIOUS REPORT: Fake renter scams now taking advantage of Zelle to receive money from victims

"I didn't hear anything for a long time, nothing from Wells Fargo," says Ralph Hunt. "Nothing from Zelle. I figured. Well, I was just out $1,100."

7 On Your Side introduced you to Ralph Hunt last spring. He told us he wanted to move from California to Utah. "I started looking on Craigslist, and I found a listing for what they called a basement unit," he said.

The conman setting up Hunt sent all kinds of paperwork: applications, leases -- it all looked so legit.

Then the fake landlord just disappeared.

MORE: Zelle scammers steal $3,500 saved for late Bay Area mom's headstone, Bank of America denies claim

"I've heard so many bad stories about people being scammed," Hunt said, "but I figured with Zelle being offered by my bank, the FDIC insurance would cover anything. Wrong."

It doesn't work like that.

Hunt goes on, "So I contacted not only my bank, Wells Fargo, but also Zelle customer service itself. Wells Fargo claimed to have done an investigation into it, and they found that I was at fault for sending the money in the first place, so they wouldn't refund it. And Zelle was pretty much like, 'Well, we can't do anything because you sent money through our services, so we're not going to do anything about it.'"

MORE: BofA managers hear Zelle scammer as victim puts them on speakerphone, fraud claim still denied

Police wouldn't help either, so he reached out to 7 On Your Side and Michael Finney reached out to Wells Fargo, asking the bank to reconsider Hunt's case.

Months later, Ralph heard back, "and they found new evidence to substantiate my claim that it was all fraud. So they actually was refunding me money, not the full $1,100. I was out. But almost $900 of it."

7 On Your Side asked Wells Fargo what changed; citing customer privacy, the bank declined to say. Still, 7 On Your Side wants to thank Wells Fargo for taking care of this.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

7OYS's consumer hotline is a free consumer mediation service for those in the San Francisco Bay Area. We assist individuals with consumer-related issues; we cannot assist on cases between businesses, or cases involving family law, criminal matters, landlord/tenant disputes, labor issues, or medical issues. Please review our FAQ here. As a part of our process in assisting you, it is necessary that we contact the company / agency you are writing about. If you do not wish us to contact them, please let us know right away, as it will affect our ability to work on your case. Due to the high volume of emails we receive, please allow 3-5 business days for a response.



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