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Wells Fargo Offers Fraud Prevention Tips to Keep Holidays Happy

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--To kick off the holiday shopping season, Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) is offering tips to help consumers shop safely, whether in person or online.

"We want to remind shoppers that there are ways to protect themselves," said Lisa H. Robinson, senior vice president, Wells Fargo Internet Services Group. "Traditionally, the day after Thanksgiving is one of the busiest shopping days of the year and marks the kick-off of the holiday season."

Customers braving the crowds to shop over the Thanksgiving holiday should remember these tips before heading out the door:

  • Take the paperless route with online banking: The 2009 Identity Fraud Survey Report from Javelin Strategy & Research shows that some thieves still do it the old-fashioned way-by stealing bank or credit card statements from the mailbox. Reduce your risk of stolen mail by picking up mail promptly and switching to online statements.
  • Monitor your activity: Financial institutions such as Wells Fargo use sophisticated systems to track purchasing and transaction habits so irregularities can be flagged. Register for email or mobile alerts so you can stay informed.
According to Forrester Research Inc.'s independent report, "US Online Holiday Retail Forecast, 2009," analysts expect online retail sales to reach $44.7 billion during the months of November and December 2009, an eight percent increase over 2008. If you're logging on to shop, keep these tips on hand:

  • Protect your computer from malware: Crooks are getting smarter with phishing and malware scams. Make sure your computer has the most up to date virus prevention and don't download any attachment or plug-in without ensuring it is from an authorized site. When making purchases, be sure the website address starts with "https://..." The "s" helps ensure that your information will be passed along in a secure manner.
  • Don't believe in offers that are too good to be true: No one wants to be cynical during the holidays, but if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Watch out for email scams or suspicious messages and report any that may pose to be from your financial institution and report those that try to look like your financial institution to your bank or credit card company.
  • Be careful what you share: Unless you initiated the interaction, do not provide sensitive financial information over the Internet or phone, including Social Security numbers, passwords, personal identification numbers (PINs) or account numbers. If the call back number seems suspicious, confirm the phone number from a legitimate source from the organization, such as the back of a credit card or from the company's web site.
"Education and awareness are important tools to make sure this really is the most festive time of the year," said Teddy De Rivera, executive vice president, Wells Fargo Internet Services Group. "Whether customers are shopping online or off, keep the following steps in mind to make sure accounts stay problem-free."

  • Check your list twice: Review your account activity regularly, especially during big shopping trips. Enroll in mobile banking to check your balance and transactions while on the go, or check your purchase activity online as soon as you get home. Sign up for transaction alerts on your debit or credit card which will notify you of transactions over your threshold.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: Cover the pin pad when you enter your pin number. Do not repeat sensitive financial information where it could be overheard.
  • Ensure you're protected in case of loss or theft: Wells Fargo guarantees that its customers will be covered for 100% of the funds in their Wells Fargo account in the unlikely event that someone you haven't authorized removes those funds through Wells Fargo Online┬« or Wells Fargo Business Online┬«. Customers are responsible for protecting their password and account information and for providing prompt notification of an unauthorized transaction. Customers can visit https://www.wellsfargo.com/privacy_security/online/guarantee for how the guarantee works.
  • Ensure your cards are covered: Wells Fargo cardholders are also protected by the built-in WellsProtect┬« program, which provides zero liability if a card is ever used without the customer's permission when promptly reported.
  • Know your credit report: Review your credit report at least once a year, looking for suspicious or unauthorized transactions. You can get a free credit report once a year from each of the three major credit bureaus at the AnnualCreditReport web site.
Wells Fargo's Fraud Information Center (https://www.wellsfargo.com/privacy_security/fraud/) located on Wells Fargo's public web site provides fraud prevention tips for all shoppers to learn about fraud and take action to ensure that the New Year starts off right by taking some simple precautions.

Wells Fargo maintains multiple layers of security to protect customers, their accounts and their information. Wells Fargo's layered approach to online security extends beyond a unique username and password, 128-bit encryption for online banking, bill pay, a powerful firewall, technology updates, and continuous surveillance. Wells Fargo uses a combination of front-end and back-end controls (https://www.wellsfargo.com/privacy_security/online/protect), and continuously evolves its security activities in response to the changing environment as well as customer needs.

About Wells Fargo & Company
Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company with $1.2 trillion in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance through more than 10,000 stores and 12,000 ATMs and the Internet (wellsfargo.com) across North America and internationally.

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