Phishing: A fraud method in which the fraudster sends out a legitimate-looking email in an attempt to gather personal and financial information from recipients. The scammer sends an email to an unsuspecting customer that may look just like a legitimate Walmart email (including use of the Walmart logo.) If the customer falls for the bait (thus the “fishing” reference), the thief could get credit card numbers, PINs, account passwords, expiration dates, credit card/bank account numbers and even Social Security numbers. Learn more about phishing.
Vishing: Vishing is very similar to "phishing" but instead of occurring through email, vishing happens over the phone. In these scams, fraudsters pose as a trusted retailer or bank and obtain personal information from the customer by requesting they "verify" the information on file. The information gained is then used for fraudulent transactions.
A good rule of thumb: If someone is contacting you to verify your personal information, it is very likely you did not provide it to them in the first place, and it is not a legitimate request. Legitimate companies will not expect you to provide your social security number or other personal information when they call you. If you receive a call like this, do not provide any information. If in doubt, call back a trusted number for the company, such as the one on a statement or invoice, the back of your credit/debit card, or on their official website (Do not use the phone number provided by the person on the phone or sent through a suspicious email.) Learn more about vishing.
Smishing: A combination of the terms "SMS" and "phishing." It is similar to phishing, but refers to fraudulent messages sent over SMS (text messaging) rather than email. The fraudster may text you saying you’ve won a free gift card. Remember, you can’t win a contest you didn’t enter. Walmart doesn’t notify winners of any contest via text message. Learn more about smishing.
Tips to avoid these scams
- Never provide personal information in response to an unsolicited request, whether it is over the phone or internet. A trusted company will never ask a customer for highly sensitive information during a call they initiated. A financial institution may ask for the account holder’s partial Social Security Number for verification, but they will never ask for the entire Social Security Number, account number or PIN.
- Do not respond to any suspicious looking email, automated calls, or text messages.
- Don’t trust the Caller ID. Fraudsters can manipulate the Caller ID to have it display a legitimate business’ name. To be safe, you can check to see if the phone number matches the number that appears on your bank statement, credit/debit card, or on their official website.
- Avoid fraudulent sites by entering web addresses directly into the browser yourself or by using bookmarks you create. Do not click on links in emails that you did not directly request from a company or that look suspicious.
- If you have fallen victim to such a scam, contact your financial institution immediately to protect your accounts.
Don't respond or reply to an email, phone call, or text message that:
- Requires you to supply personal or account information directly in the email
- Requires you to click on a link to provide more personal or account information
- Threatens to close or suspend your account if you do not take immediate action
- Invites you to answer a survey that asks you to enter personal or account information
- States that your account has been compromised or that there has been third-party activity on your account, then asks you to enter or confirm your personal or account information