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Unauthorized Bank Accounts

The Lyon Firm is investigating Unauthorized Bank Account Class Actions
on behalf of consumers nationwide.
Nationwide Success

Do You Need a Bank Fraud Attorney?

The American consumer has the right to privacy, fair and lawful business practices, and safe consumer products.

Consumer Protection Attorneys investigating financial institutions for opening unauthorized bank accounts for existing customers.

For years, banks have violated trust and opened new accounts unbeknownst to clientele. Banks have since settled with federal authorities for hundreds of millions in fines.

Not only does the American public have to contend with fraud and identity theft initiated by bad actors, but also the unlawful behavior of some of their trusted banks.

Some large national and regional banks have been opening unauthorized bank accounts for their customers–accounts opened without their knowledge or consent.

Such banking practice may not seem like it would benefit a financial institution or any customer, but the new accounts may result in customers being charged fees or enrolled in bank services that they did not knowingly sign up for. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has deemed such behavior as deceptive and illegal.

Class action lawsuits have been filed and consumer protection lawyers have sued big banks on behalf of plaintiffs nationwide. If you have noticed an unauthorized bank account in your name at any bank, you may be able to file or join a current class action lawsuit. Some banks that have been investigated or fined for such practice include the following:

If you are a customer at a bank, and unauthorized bank accounts have been opened in your name that results in fees or unwanted services, you may qualify to file an unauthorized bank account class action claim.

Why Do Banks Open Unauthorized Bank Accounts?

Financial institutions would not go through the trouble of opening an account for any other reason than eventually profiting from it in some way. Management has allegedly pushed sales teams at many banks to meet quotas and sales-based incentives, leading some banking officials to open unauthorized bank accounts and new lines of credit that can result in higher fees or even hidden fees.

Banking regulators have found that in the past bank employees have opened deposit accounts, credit cards and lines of credit that carry high interest rates and excessive fees that weigh on customers.

One investigation found that U.S. Bank allegedly pressured employees to meet sales goals by selling bank products, which sometimes resulted in them illegally accessing individual credit reports and personal data to open accounts without permission. A Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) official described the practice as “misappropriating consumer data to create fictitious accounts.”

The CFBP said there was evidence that the bank was aware that its employees were opening accounts without prior authorization, and did not have measures in place to prevent the practice.

A black woman in red-framed reading glasses stands by a bright window and frowns at a bill containing fraudulent charges.


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Joseph Lyon has 17 years of experience representing individuals in complex litigation matters. He has represented individuals in every state against many of the largest companies in the world.

The Firm focuses on single-event civil cases and class actions involving corporate neglect & fraud, toxic exposure, product defects & recalls, medical malpractice, and invasion of privacy.


The Firm offers contingency fees, advancing all costs of the litigation, and accepting the full financial risk, allowing our clients full access to the legal system while reducing the financial stress while they focus on their healthcare and financial needs.

Are Unwanted Credit Cards Due to Unauthorized Bank Accounts?

You would be smart to question any new credit card that arrives in the mail without requesting it. It could simply be a replacement to your existing card or it could be a new card with higher fees and interest rates.

A lawsuit was filed against Fifth Third Bank alleging that the institution opened new accounts without consumers’ knowledge or consent. The bank supposedly opened deposit and credit-card accounts in existing consumers’ names, transferred funds from existing accounts to new accounts, enrolled consumers in unauthorized online-banking services, and activated new unauthorized lines of credit.

The 2020 lawsuit alleged that Fifth Third violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act’s prohibition against unfair and abusive acts or practices as well as the Truth in Lending Act and the Truth in Savings Act.

Fifth Third used what investigators called a “cross-sell” strategy to increase the number of products and services it provided to existing customers.

Can I Join Unauthorized Bank Accounts Lawsuits?

Despite past legal action by regulators, several banks are being investigated for illegal banking practices that include excessive overdraft  fees, hidden fees, and unauthorized bank accounts.

Some banks have been fined by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for illegally accessing consumer credit reports and opening accounts without proper permission, but that does not mean the matter has been resolved. Some class actions are still ongoing as customers are looking to reach a settlement.

Consumer protection laws exist for your benefit. Large corporations have gotten away with dubious business practices for decades, but the law can be on your side. Contact our lawyers to consider legal action and to seek rightful compensation after your rights are violated.

The Lyon Firm has filed class action claims in the following practice areas:

Banks Investigated for Unauthorized Accounts

U.S. Bank Investigation

The CFBP fined U.S. Bank $37.5 million after a five-year investigation concluded that employees were taking advantage of customers by misappropriating consumer data to create fake accounts. The agency said an investigation found evidence that the bank’s sales campaigns and compensation programs rewarded staff for selling bank products, however dubious.

Wells Fargo Investigation

Wells Fargo was accused of fraudulently opening unauthorized bank accounts in consumers’ names and transferring funds. In 2020, Wells Fargo ultimately agreed to pay $3 billion to federal regulatory agencies to settle the investigation into the fraudulent practices.

Wells Fargo has also been allegedly fraudulently obtained valuable true and correct personal identification and personal financial information for unauthorized accounts. Wells Fargo was previously fined by federal regulators for creating accounts for some clients without their knowledge for over a decade.

As a result, millions of fraudulent customer accounts were created, the Department of Justice reported. As part of the 2020 $3 billion deal, Wells Fargo admitted that between 2002 and 2016 it pressured employees to meet “unrealistic sales goals that led thousands of employees to provide millions of accounts or products to customers under false pretenses or without consent, often by creating false records or misusing customers’ identities.”

Bank of America Investigation

Bank of America was ordered to pay $250 million in fines and customer compensation after the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that the bank violated consumer protection laws. BofA was also fined $727 million in 2014 for illegal credit card practices. The bank was found to double-charge insufficient fund fees, withheld credit card rewards and welcome bonuses, and opened unauthorized credit card accounts without customer consent.

Bank employees used consumers’ personal information to enroll in fake credit card accounts. Lawyers have characterized the practice of opening unauthorized card accounts as identity theft.

If you feel you have been defrauded, contact The Lyon Firm for a free consultation by calling (513) 381-2333. Representation means that we do the investigatory work to make sure your case is as strong as possible.

photo of consumer fraud attorney Joe Lyon

Contact an Experienced Consumer Fraud Attorney

Consumers have a multitude of rights and protections in the United States, but that doesn’t keep large corporations from trying to defraud customers. Those rights must be guarded and enforced, and filing a consumer fraud lawsuit is one of the most direct ways to hold such companies accountable.

Joe Lyon has represented individuals nationwide in consumer protection class action cases. If you need an attorney who can provide individualized attention even when taking on a large class-action lawsuit, The Lyon Firm has you covered.

Reach out to us today via our online contact form, or by calling (513) 381-2333. Your communications with us are fully confidential, and your consultation is free of charge. You can rest assured that with The Lyon Firm, the service and dedication we promise are as-advertised.