Banks go to great lengths to guard against cybercriminals hacking customers' accounts. Now customers must worry about getting robbed by their own bank.

That's just one takeaway from an investigation that found employees at Wells Fargo opened more than 2 million fake checking, credit, and debit card accounts for customers in order to meet sales targets and earn bonuses.

The scheme resulted in customers getting hit with unexpected fees or receiving credit and debit cards they did not request. Debt collectors went after some customers for charges on accounts they did not authorize.

Talk about an inside job.

Wells Fargo agreed to refund about $2.6 million in fees and pay $185 million in fines. That's a wrist slap considering the scam involved at least 5,300 Wells Fargo workers who have since been fired.

The breadth of the swindle raises questions as to whether Wells Fargo - one of the largest banks in the country - learned anything from the 2008 financial meltdown that led to the $700 billion bailout of financial institutions.

That thousands of its employees bilked customers points to a broader ethical rot at Wells Fargo. Indeed, its employees were incentivized and rewarded for ripping off customers.

Such widespread fraud usually happens when bosses push employees to do whatever it takes to hit sales targets. The best way to root out such bad behavior would be to fire the top brass and recover any ill-gotten bonuses.

But don't hold your breath.

A Wells Fargo executive who oversaw the bank unit that created the 2 million unauthorized customer accounts is scheduled to retire at the end of the year and walk away with a $125 million golden parachute.

Carrie Tolstedt, 56, oversaw Wells Fargo's retail banking and credit card divisions where much of the fraud occurred. When Tolstedt's departure was announced in July, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf called her "a standard-bearer of our culture, a champion for our customers, and a role model for responsible, principled, and inclusive leadership."

Tolstedt was not named specifically as a wrongdoer, and it is unclear what she knew about the scheme. But rest assured, a chunk of her bonus was tied to the bank's profit growth.

Credit the embattled Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for leading the investigation and levying the fine against Wells Fargo. The CFPB was created by President Obama, despite continuing Republican opposition, in response to the financial crisis.

The crackdown on Wells Fargo underscores the need for strong regulations and oversight of the financial industry. Only the threat of an aggressive watchdog, combined with hefty fines, criminal penalties, and the recovery of undeserved bonuses will serve as a check to the profit-driven greed that still exists at too many financial institutions.

Congressional Republicans and financial industry lobbyists keep trying to kill the CFPB. In fact, Donald Trump has vowed to dismantle the law that created the agency if he is elected. That would leave average bank customers to fend for themselves.

If anything, the CFPB needs more resources. The banks have demonstrated they can't be trusted to police themselves.