Wells Fargo fires over a dozen employees for faking mouse movements

Tech8 USA mouse mover connected to computer
(Image credit: Tech8 USA)

At some point in May, the large banking company Wells Fargo fired over a dozen employees alleging that they were lying about actually being at their desks.

Our sister site, Tom's Hardware, shared the report that confirmed Wells Fargo let go a number of workers who were simulating keyboard activity. 

The firings came to light via disclosures the bank shared with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra) in June. The Finra disclosures claimed the fired employees were simulating keyboard activity and using "mouse jiggler" tools.

A Wells Fargo spokesperson told Bloomberg, “Wells Fargo holds employees to the highest standards and does not tolerate unethical behavior."

It appears the terminated employees worked in the lender's wealth and investment management unit. They used easily obtainable tools to imply that they wore working. The reports state that the workers weren't even at their computers. 

The Finra report doesn't explain how Wells Fargo caught the AWOL employees but there are programs that take screenshots of employee computers to determine if the mouse is actually moving around.  Or perhaps they just checked out their desks.

The need to work from home caused employers to ramp up surveillance of employees who took too much downtime by tracking statuses in chat apps like Slack, which go idle when the mouse doesn't move for long enough.

Apparently, it became a trend among employees to purchase mouse jiggler tools to get around Big Brother. The devices can be pretty cheap like and available on Amazon for less than $20.  

The mouse jiggler prevents your computer from going into sleep mode.

Wells Fargo has been operating under a "hybrid flexible model" since 2022 when the firm started requiring workers return to the office. Apparently, of the big banking groups, Wells Fargo was the kindest in requiring people return to corporate buildings. Most employees have to be in the office three days a week. None of the reports we've read clarify if the people let go were working from home or in the office. 

Apparently, the investment management unit at Wells Fargo has a history of bad behavior. In 2016, a number of advisers fled the company taking lucrative clients with them, according to Bloomberg. In 2018, Wells Fargo fired a number of employees who were exploiting the expense policy in attempts to get the bank to pay for "ineligible" dinners.

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Scott Younker
West Coast Reporter

Scott Younker is the West Coast Reporter at Tom’s Guide. He covers all the lastest tech news. He’s been involved in tech since 2011 at various outlets and is on an ongoing hunt to build the easiest to use home media system. When not writing about the latest devices, you are more than welcome to discuss board games or disc golf with him.