TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Gentlemen’s Quest of Tampa, a nonprofit that helps minority youth, was targeted by criminals who schemed their way into the group’s bank account and stole more than $23,000 in scholarship money.

“My phone rung three times,” said Tavis Myrick, Executive Director of the nonprofit. “I was in a classroom so I was unable to answer. But at the third time, I thought, this call keeps coming so I step out of the classroom to see who it was.”

And that’s when trouble hit.

The caller explained they were with the bank’s fraud department and someone in California was trying to Zelle themselves money. Caller ID showed Wells Fargo. He then received a code that he was asked to repeat.

That code allowed them to make two wire transfers, totaling more than $23,000 and spend hundreds of dollars at chain restaurants. After an internal investigation, Myrick says Wells Fargo denied his refund request, saying it was his fault that he gave out the code.

“The Wells Fargo employees, because we’ve talked to multiple ones, were able to communicate that it was fraud, they saw the city that the person was in, they weren’t nowhere near Tampa Florida,” Myrick said. “They saw what banks it went to, but yet they still said they were not going to give us our money back.”

Myrick has told the boys that Gentlemen’s Quest may be unable to issue scholarships this year, and a college tour planned for the spring may be off as well. Myrick called Better Call Behnken to share his story, in hopes that higher-ups at Wells Fargo may have a change of heart.

Well, now he hopes that did the trick. A spokesperson with Wells Fargo sent this statement:

“After conducting an additional review, we are pleased to resolve this matter for our customer.

We want to do everything we can to combat scammers and protect customers. It’s important for everyone to be vigilant and aware of common scams to avoid falling victim. Be wary of unexpected calls, texts, social media posts, or emails from scammers impersonating banks, tech support companies and government agencies. Don’t be afraid to end communication with the person who contacted you and take time to research.”

As for Myrick, Better Call Behnken will stay on this until the money is back where it belongs.

Additional Points

  • Scams are an industry-wide concern, and we never want to see anyone become a victim.
  • We are actively working to raise awareness of common scams to help prevent these heartbreaking incidents.
  • It’s important to be vigilant to guard against financial crimes, such as imposter and tech support scams.
  • If you give a scammer access to your accounts and they remove funds, you may not be able to get your money back.
  • Don’t give your account information or access codes to anyone you don’t know or a company you can’t verify as a legitimate.
  • Our work to prevent scams is a priority and we’re increasing our education efforts through alerts in online banking sessions, customer communications, and our Online Security Center.