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Wells Fargo fires employees for faking keyboard strokes

Wells Fargo fires employees for faking keyboard strokes

Wells Fargo has fired several members of staff after claims that they were faking keyboard activity to make it appear as if they were working when they were not.

It remains unclear how the issue was revealed at the US bank, and if it was related to remote workers.

The bank said that its staff had either been fired or resigned “after review of allegations involving simulation of keyboard activity creating impression of active work,” according to the BBC.

New rules instituted in the US means that financial brokers working remotely have to be inspected every three years.

“Wells Fargo holds employees to the highest standards and does not tolerate unethical behavior,” a spokesperson told The Independent.

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Wells Fargo said two years ago that it had taken on a hybrid schedule meaning that staff could partially work from home.

A number of large firms have been using tools to monitor employees after the expansion of remote work during the pandemic. These tools can monitor keystrokes and eye movements, take screenshots and record what websites are used.

Technology has also been developed to evade such surveillance tools, including so-called “mouse jigglers” which are used to make computers appear to be active when workers are actually doing something else. Amazon, which sells them for under $10, has said that thousands have been sold in the last month.

Bloomberg initially reported the firings following a filing by the bank to the US Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. The outlet said more than a dozen people had been affected.

The BBC found six instances of staff being fired following a review and another individual who voluntarily resigned after being confronted with allegations. Several had worked for Wells Fargo for less than five years.

Financial firms are at the forefront of the push to make workers return to the office. While remote work remains popular, it has seen a downturn.

In May, 27 per cent of paid days in the US were remote – during the pandemic’s peak in 2020, that figure was more than 60 per cent. This is according to research from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) Business School, Stanford, and the University of Chicago.

This spring about 13 per cent of full-time workers in the US were fully remote while an additional 26 per cent have a mixed schedule, the researchers found.