‘Mouse jiggling’ employees sacked from major US bank after using tech to make it seem like they were working

14 June 2024, 11:42 | Updated: 14 June 2024, 11:45

More than a dozen employees were fired following claims about 'simulated' activity, according to reports.
More than a dozen employees were fired following claims about 'simulated' activity, according to reports. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

More than a dozen employees have been fired from a major US firm after the company investigated claims they had been faking keyboard activity to make it seem like they were working.

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Employees in the wealth and investment management unit at Wells Fargo were sacked after it was discovered they had allegedly been involved in the ‘simulation of keyboard activity’.

The firm, which is America’s third largest bank, disclosed the decisions in broker filings with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra).

They had been ‘creating an impression of active work’ through simulation tools, according to the filings.

“Wells Fargo holds employees to the highest standards and does not tolerate unethical behaviors,” a spokesman for Bloomberg reported.

The bank did not respond to requests for comment on how the alleged issue was discovered, or if it had been related to working from home.

The banking industry has been one of the strongest enforcers of returning to in-office work since the pandemic.

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Although, Wells Fargo did not enforce the return to in-office work as fast as some of its rivals, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bloomberg reported.

The majority of employees at the firm returned to the office under a hybrid flexible model of working at the start of 2022.

Some companies have deployed more sophisticated technology to monitor the activity of employees due to the rise of remote working as a result of the pandemic.

Different tools can track eye movement, take screenshots and log which websites are visited.

But during the pandemic, the practice of ‘simulating’ keyboard activity increased as workers purchased gadgets online known as ‘mouse movers’ or ‘mouse jigglers’ to avoid surveillance.

Wells Fargo, alongside Chase, JP Morgan and Bank of America are among some of the top US banks to have closed a total of 79 bank branches in just six weeks as the sector moves towards more online services.

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