Following the completion of a 2018 banking investigation conducted by the OCC, private attorneys are investigating several financial institutions, including Bank of America, for evidence of fraud, fake bank accounts, and money mismanagement.
The OCC Investigation
Prompted by the Wells Fargo fake account scandal of 2016, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) launched an investigation in 2018 into possible deceptive banking practices at other banks. Although the OCC declined to name which financial institutions were investigated, it did confirm that more than 40 banks were scrutinized.
According to The Hill, the OCC review covered approximately 500 million checking, savings, credit and insurance accounts or policies. Joseph Otting, the Comptroller of the Currency, said in a statement that no pervasive or systemic issues were found during the OCC’s review.
However, the OCC claims to have found around 20,000 accounts with compliance issues. They estimate that roughly half of these accounts were unauthorized.
Regarding the OCC’s reluctance to name which banks were found to have compliance issues with their accounts, Otting told the House Financial Services Committee that the banks in question have been told privately to improve their policies and procedures regarding account openings.
At least one Democratic lawmaker has spoken out against the OCC’s lack of transparency in this matter. Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York responded to Otting’s testimony, “You decided not to take any public enforcement actions against them. I have to say, I find that deeply disturbing in light of the Wells Fargo scandal.”
Although the OCC has not disclosed which banks were found to have problematic accounts, many attorneys are conducting their own investigations into banks and credit unions for signs of unauthorized financial practices. The financial institutions under investigation include Bank of America, BOK Financial, Capital One, HSBC, Royal Bank of Canada, TD Bank, and others.
Signs of Fake Bank Accounts and What You Can Do
There are many red flags regarding unauthorized banking practices that concerned consumers can watch for. Unexpected overdraft fees or unexpected bank fees may be a sign that a fake account has been opened in your name. Unexpected interest charges or changes to your credit report may indicate the opening of a fake credit card.
According to CNN Money, there are many things that consumers can do to prevent or uncover fraud related to their bank accounts. Contacting your bank and asking for a list of all accounts associated with your name is one way to ensure that all of your bank accounts were opened with your knowledge and consent. Checking monthly bank statements for unauthorized transfers or withdrawals is another way to keep tabs on your money. Finally, checking your credit report for unauthorized cards or accounts may also be helpful.
If you are a customer at Bank of America or another financial institution and have evidence that an unauthorized account was opened in your name, you may qualify to join a free class action lawsuit investigation.
An unauthorized bank accounts lawsuit investigation is now looking into banking sales practices at the following banks:
Bank of America
Royal Bank of Canada
If you are a customer at one of the banks listed above and you were charged for fees from a bank account you did not open, you were issued a credit card you did not request, or you were enrolled in services you did not authorize, you may qualify to join this fake bank account class action lawsuit investigation.