The scandal involving the creation of fake customer accounts at Wells Fargo rocked the financial world. Worse yet, it violated the trust of consumers, and in some cases, billed customers for unknown fees or negatively impacted credit scores. The fallout could continue for years to come, but consumers could have some closure soon.
Claims process now open
To help compensate customers, Wells Fargo was ordered to pay $142 million via a class action lawsuit. Now through Feb. 3, 2018, consumers who were affected by a fake account can begin making claims against the bank for monetary compensation. Money from a class action lawsuit is available to anyone who fits certain criteria, known as a "class."
How do I know if I'm eligible for compensation?
If you were a Wells Fargo customer from May 2002 to April 20, 2017, you may be eligible for compensation. Three activities may qualify you including:
- Unauthorized accounts were opened in your name.
- An application was made to open an account without your consent.
- You used Wells Fargo for identity theft protection.
- You were charged fees for unauthorized accounts.
- Your credit score was affected by false accounts and resulted in higher interest rates.
If you meet the requirements to be a member of a class in the lawsuit, you may receive a check for compensation. However, monetary compensation alone may not be enough to fix the potential long-term damage to your credit score or current financial situation.
Even after the case is closed, current and former Wells Fargo customers should be proactive in ensuring they are in good financial standing for the future. How can this be done?
Thoroughly checking your credit report
Credit reports usually give an itemized list of all accounts in your name. Check this list carefully and be sure you understand what the account is and how it serves your financial interest. Even accounts that you think you are familiar with can be worth a second look.
Seek legal help
If you find false information on your credit report or are facing debt collection problems because of a high-interest loan, there are legal options available to you to correct information and stop harassing calls.
Compensation alone may not be enough to solve the problems of the Wells Fargo fake account scandal. Therefore, consumers should be diligent in understanding their credit history and seeking more information.