Privacy & Security

Fraud Alerts

The following fraud and scams are not from Walmart. We are listing them here in an effort to educate you about these activities. If you feel that you have been defrauded, you may want to contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.ftc.gov or at 1-877-FTC-HELP, or the Consumer Fraud Division of your state's Attorney General's office.

Scams

Phishing: A fraud method in which the fraudster sends out legitimate-looking email in an attempt to gather personal and financial information from recipientsThe fraudster sends an email to an unsuspecting customer. That fraudulent email might 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, expiration dates credit card / bank account numbers and even Social Security numbers. Learn more about phishing here.

Vishing: Vishing is very similar to "phishing" but instead of occurring through e-mail it is over the phone. The fraudster will typically pretend to be a legitimate business, and fools the customer into thinking they will profit, such as through a Secret Shopper scam. 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 is then used to generate 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 in the one on a statement or invoice, the back of your credit/debit card, or  on their official website (not the one sent through a suspicious email.  Do not use the phone number provided by the person on the phone.)

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 emailThe 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 context via text message.

Tips to avoid these scams

  • Never provide personal information in response to an unsolicited request, whether it is over the phone or internet.
  • Do not respond to any suspicious looking email, automated calls or text messages. A trusted company will never ask a customer for sensitive information over a call you didn’t initiate.
  • Don’t trust the Caller Id. Fraudsters can manipulate the Caller ID to have it display a legitimate business’s 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 phone book. 
  • If a credit/debit card company actually calls to notify you of suspicious charges, they will not ask for your personal information. Instead they will verify that they have reached the cardholder and ask for them by name. Then they may ask the cardholder to verify the last 4-digits of their Social Security Number (Note: They will NOT ask for the entire Social, Account, Expiration, or PIN). They will then verify if you made that particular charge or not. If anything sounds suspicious, hang up and call your financial institution directly.
  • Avoid fraudulent sites by entering web addresses directly into the browser yourself or by using bookmarks you create.
  • If you have fallen victim to such a scam and given out your personal account information, contact your financial institution immediately to protect your accounts, block your cards, fill out a fraud affidavit, and take other protective measures as necessary.

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
  • 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
  • States that there are unauthorized charges on your account, then asks you to provide your personal or account information
  • Asks you to enter your User ID, Password or account numbers, PIN or card expiration dates into an email, webpage or text message

Online Orders

The holiday season is around us and that means the fraudsters are out in full force.  If you received an order confirmation email from Walmart but you did not place an order, it may be a phishing scam attempting to gather information, or in some cases, spread malware. 

Emails may look similar to this:

Signs of Fraud

  • The recipient may have not placed a Walmart.com order
  • The message contains very poor grammar.
  • There is no order number, or details about the order. A real order confirmation email contains the details of your order without clicking on any links, as well as where it is being shipped and the payment method.
  • There is usually another email address embedded in the “from” line.  The name in the “from line” may say Walmart, but the actual email address will not match. You can see the embedded email address by either hovering your cursor over the “from” line in the email or in many cases by clicking the “Reply” button and seeing what is in the “To” line of the reply email.  Be careful to delete the reply before sending as to not confirm your receipt of the email to the scam artists thus confirming to them that your email is active.
  • There may be multiple emails listed in the “to” line, or to “undisclosed recipients”

How to protect yourself

  • If you actually placed an order and are suspicious about the email you received, log onto your Walmart.com order to check your order status.
  • Keep your virus software updated on all your computers.

If you were a victim of fraud via the Internet, you should file a report with your local law enforcement agency along with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (ICCC). The ICCC is a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center. You can make a report with the ICCC.

Additional Resources

Mystery Shopper

Mystery shopping, sometimes referred to as secret shopping, is where an individual is hired to “act” like a customer, and evaluate services at a business. The individual is essentially paid to shop, and then report on the experience.  Walmart does NOT utilize these services.

Fraudsters are sending fraudulent solicitations via mail, print, text, and e-mail to entice consumers to evaluate the retail experience, products and services at stores, including Walmart.

This mystery shopper scam uses fraudulent offers, fake checks and wire transfers to persuade unsuspecting consumers into sending money to fraudsters who are often located outside the U.S.

Signs of Fraud

  • These communications are often associated with fictional departments or branding initiatives with letters or e-mails coming from addresses that appear to be “Wal-Mart” or an address such as “admin@walmart.com”. 
  • There is usually another email address embedded in the “From” line.  You can see the embedded email address by either hovering your cursor over the “From” line in the email or in many cases by clicking the “Reply” button and seeing what is in the “To” line of the reply email.  Be careful to delete the reply before sending as to not confirm your receipt of the email to the scam artists thus confirming to them that your email is active.
  • There may be multiple emails listed in the “to” line, or to “undisclosed recipients”
  • A website may be lacking Walmart branding, the Walmart Privacy Policy and the general look and feel of other Walmart websites. Other signs may include using outdated Walmart logos and branding. (e.g Walmart typed as “Wal-Mart” or “Wal«Mart”)
  • Walmart does not hire Associates to perform services on behalf of other retailers or companies.
  • Associates hired by Walmart are required to complete a hiring process, including legally required paperwork and drug testing.
  • Walmart will NEVER mail you a check and ask that you deposit it in order to purchase an item or service and keep the remainder of the amount as payment for services. 

These communications ask consumers to assist with Walmart's secret shopping efforts through mystery shopping in our stores and through evaluation of MoneyGram services we provide and often lead to consumer financial loss or identity theft.


How these scams work

  1. The scam artist sends a letter, e-mail solicitation or places an ad in a newspaper or on an electronic message board describing a paid, stay-at-home position in which the consumer will evaluate customer service at large retail stores—businesses with familiar names. In reality, these stores have no affiliation with the scam artist placing the ad.
  2. After responding to the ad, the consumer receives an "employment packet" containing a training assignment, a list of products to purchase at different stores and a realistic-looking cashier's check, often for $2,000 to $4,000.
  3. The "training assignment" is to deposit the check into the consumer's bank account, pose as a shopper and then use wire transfer to send the balance of the check's proceeds (minus the cost of the purchases and the consumer's "salary") to an address outside the United States, often in Canada.

The problem is that the check is fake; so when it bounces—which occurs after the money is wired—the consumer is accountable (in some cases, criminally) to the bank for the entire amount of the fake check, plus additional penalty fees. Also, in some instances, consumers are asked for personal bank account information. The company will then "deposit" money into their account for payment and funds with which to perform their Secret Shopper tasks. These consumers often then become victims of identity theft or have their accounts drained by fraudster.

How to protect yourself

  • Don't open or respond to unsolicited e-mails asking you to become a mystery shopper or secret shopper.
  • Never deposit a check you receive in the mail from a "mystery shopping" company. No legitimate business will pay in advance and ask you to send back a portion of the money.
  • If you have posted your resume to an online job site, verify with the site any job solicitations you receive.
  • Don't click on or respond to online ads or Web sites offering free gift cards.
  • Remember, if it sounds too good to believe, it is!

Walmart Practices

  • Walmart never solicits mystery shoppers via e-mail, mail, or any other public means
  • These shopper offers are not from Walmart and should be deleted or reported, per the next section:

To report suspected wire transfer scams

If you receive an e-mail related to, or suspect you have been a victim of, a wire transfer scam such as the "mystery shopper," please fill out the online complaint form. You can also report the matter by calling 1-800-MONEYGRAM (1-800-666-3947) for English or 1-800-955-7777 for Spanish.

If you suspect you have received a fraudulent e-mail claiming to be from Walmart, please forward the e-mail directly to Walmart at OnlineAbuse@walmart.com. For investigatory purposes, please do not cut and paste the e-mail into the body of the email or forward the email to us; instead, copy the entire email and send it as an attachment.

If you were a victim of fraud via the Internet, you should file a report with your local law enforcement agency along with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (ICCC). The ICCC is a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center. You can make a report with the ICCC.

Additional Resources

Surveys

Walmart does offer a survey, located at survey.walmart.com, which is advertised on random receipts in our Stores. The survey participants may choose to enter a sweepstakes which offers five winners a $1000 gift card every 3 months. Winners are notified via phone and certified mail. This survey is only offered online, and customers are only offered entry through register receipts – not via phone, text, or email. Winners are notified via certified mail and a phone call after the winning drawing occurs. Gift cards are not given away through Twitter, Facebook, email or text message. If you receive a notice through one of these channels, it is likely a scam. Do not click on any links in these messages.

Signs of Fraud

  • Poor grammar
  • Poor spelling
  • Outdated logos or branding (e.g. use of Wal-Mart or WAL-MART, instead of Walmart)
  • "Fine Print." If you scroll down on the page, there is often fine print disclosing that the offer is not associated with the brand listed.
  • To receive the “free” gift card you are asked to complete several steps and to request that several of your friends complete the same steps.

How to protect yourself

  • Don't open or respond to unsolicited e-mails, Internet pop-up ads, or text messages indicating you’ve won a gift card or asking that you complete a survey. .
  • Don't click on or respond to online ads or Web sites offering free gift cards.
  • Remember, if it sounds too good to believe, it is!

Walmart Practices

  • Walmart does not offer gift cards via email or text messages, or for “likes” or sharing on social media sites.
  • Walmart will only call or text you with offers if you opt-in to receive such messages.
  • Walmart will never ask you to email personal information such as:
    • Passwords
    • Social security number
    • Bank account details
    • Credit card numbers
    • Other financial information
  • Walmart will not make unsolicited calls or send emails asking for such information. However, for fraud prevention purposes, Walmart may ask for you to verify personal information such as address or telephone number, which you have previously provided.

Additional Resources

  • If you were a victim of fraud via the Internet, you should file a report with your local law enforcement along with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (ICCC). The ICCC is a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center. You can make a report with the ICCC by going to the following link: http://www.ic3.gov/
  • FCC’s guide to SPAM: Unwanted Text Messages and Email

Gift Cards

The goal of this scam is to encourage consumers to spend money on "sponsor offers" in the belief that they will eventually receive a high value gift card. However, after fulfilling the "sponsor offers" the consumer may never even receive the gift card or will have spent more money on the offers than the worth the gift card.

How these scams work

  1. Consumers either receive a spam e-mail or come across a web advertisement or web site offering a Walmart or other well known gift card worth a large amount of money.
  2. The consumer is taken to a website that is has branding that makes it appear to be a legitimate merchant (ex: Walmart), there the consumer will be asked to enter an email address, and other personal contact information; including address and phone number. The privacy policy on the site will typically indicate that this information will be sold to other businesses for their own purposes, such as telemarketing and junk mail.
  3. Once this information is entered the consumers may be asked to take part in a series of surveys.
  4. Once the surveys are complete (if they were offered at all), the consumer is given a number of webpages where they have to "participate" in a certain amount of "sponsor offers." The number of offers may vary, but they will end up costing the consumer a great deal of money in fees, subscriptions, and products. In addition, at the end of the process there is no guarantee that the consumer will even receive the branded gift card.

Walmart Practices

  • Walmart does not solicit online for individuals to complete online surveys for gift cards, nor do we send unsolicited emails asking individuals to participate in our surveys.
  • Walmart does not endorse and is not affiliated with any "sponsor offer" related program or survey;
  • Walmart will never send you e-mails or surveys that are contingent on your making purchases, subscriptions, or fulfilling other financial requirements;
  • Drawings for the receipt survey occur four times a year. Winners of the register receipt gift card are notified by certified mail, never via email.

How to protect yourself

  • Don't open or respond to unsolicited e-mails offering free gift cards;
  • Don't click on or respond to online ads or websites offering free gift cards;
  • Pay attention to the website URL. If the URL does not match the branding to a legitimate website navigate away from the website.

To report suspected Gift Card Sponsor Offer scams

If you suspect you have been directed to a phony website claiming to be connected with Walmart, please send an e-mail with the link to abuse@walmart.com. The e-mail abuse team will then work with authorities to put an end to the particular scam.

If you suspect you have received a fraudulent e-mail claiming to be from Walmart, please forward the e-mail directly to Walmart at abuse@walmart.com. For investigatory purposes, please do not cut and paste the e-mail, change the subject line or send it as an attachment.

Additional Resources

IRS Scam

Government Impostor Scam

Scammers sometimes pretend to be government officials to get you to send them money. They might promise lottery winnings if you pay “taxes” or other fees, or they might threaten you with arrest or a lawsuit if you don’t pay a supposed debt. Regardless of their tactics, their goal is the same: to get you to send them money.

IRS Scam

During tax season scammers pretend to be from the IRS or other Government Agencies to scare customers into sending them money. They trick people into believing they owe taxes to the IRS. The scammers threaten those who refuse to pay with arrest, deportation or loss of a business or driver’s license. They ask the victims to go to Walmart to send a money transfer or to put the money on a prepaid card.

The IRS usually first contacts people by mail – not by phone – about unpaid taxes. And the IRS won’t ask for payment using a pre-paid debit card or money transfer. The agency also won’t ask for a credit card number over the phone.

 

Common Tactics Used by Callers Committing Fraud

  • They use common names and fake IRS badge numbers.
  • They know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security number. 
  • They make caller ID appear as if the IRS is calling.
  • They send bogus IRS emails to support their scam.
  • They call a second time claiming to be the police or DMV, and caller ID again supports their claim.

 

What You Need to Know

  1. If you owe federal taxes, or think you might owe taxes, hang up and call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you with your payment questions.
  2. If you don’t owe taxes, call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.
  3. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov. Add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments in your complaint.

 

How to protect yourself

  • Be alert for phone and email scams that use the IRS name or other Government Agencies.
  • The IRS will never request personal or financial information by email, texting or any social media. You should forward scam emails to phishing@irs.gov. Don’t open any attachments or click on any links in those emails.
  • Do not use money transfer services or loading prepaid cards as a form of payment.

Additional Resources

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