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 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

Online Orders

With an international company such as Walmart, brand abuse is inevitable. 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.

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.
  • The email listed as the sender is not from an @walmart.com domain. You can see the embedded email address by hovering your cursor over the “from” line in the email.
  • There may be multiple emails listed in the “to” line, or there may be “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 account to check your order status. Remember not to click on any links within the email claiming to take you to your account.
  • Keep your virus software updated on all your computers.

If you were a victim of fraud, you should file a report with your local law enforcement agency along with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/.

Additional Resources


OnlineOnGuard: Avoid Online Scams
Report Phishing
OnlineOnGuard: Malware
Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker

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. Walmart does NOT utilize these services or hire associates to perform services on behalf of other retailers or companies. However, scammers take advantage of these types of programs by sending fraudulent solicitations via mail, text, or email to entice consumers to evaluate the retail experience. Often times these offers of employment are accompanied by a fake check made out for a large amount of money or otherwise offer immediate employment with a good salary and minimal effort required.

Signs of Fraud

  • These communications are often associated with fictional departments or branding initiatives with letters or emails 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 hovering your cursor over the “from” line in the email.
  • 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”)
  • 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 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 or email solicitation describing a paid, stay-at-home position in which the consumer will evaluate customer services at large retail stores. 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 several thousand dollars.
  3. The "training assignment" is to deposit the check into the consumer's bank account, pose as a shopper and then use Money Gram 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.

The problem is that the check is fake; so when it bounces (is returned to your account by your bank as “insufficient funds” or a “drawn on a closed account”) —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 the fraudster.

How to protect yourself

  • Don't open or respond to unsolicited emails 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 email 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 email claiming to be from Walmart, please send the email directly to Walmart at OnlineAbuse@walmart.com as an attachment. For investigatory purposes, please do not cut and paste the email into the body of the email or forward the email to us; instead, send the email 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


Mystery Shopper Scams
FTC Money Transfer Scams Video
Secret Shopper / Mystery Shopper Scams: A Job That Only Pays the Scammer!
The Truth About Becoming a Mystery Shopper
Money Gram Payment Services Consumer Protection Information
Mystery/Secret Shopper Schemes Alert
Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker

Surveys

Walmart does offer a survey, located at survey.walmart.com, which is advertised on random receipts in our stores. This survey is only offered online and customers are only offered entry through register receipts – not via phone, text, or email. 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. 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)
  • 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, text messages, or through social media sites for “likes” or sharing a post. 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 Numbers
  • 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 customer service may ask for you to verify personal information such as address or telephone number, which you have previously provided

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: ICCC

Additional Resources

Free Gifts

The goal of this scam is to encourage consumers to take multiple surveys and pay for shipping in exchange for a “free” gift, like a high quality piece of jewelry, a store branded gift card for a significant amount, or another product. However, after fulfilling the requirements, the consumer may never receive the promised gift, or they will be charged more than just shipping.

How these scams work

  1. Consumers either receive a spam email or come across a web advertisement or web site from “Walmart” offering a high quality piece of jewelry or other gift in exchange for participating in surveys and paying the cost of shipping.
  2. The consumer is taken to a web site that has branding that makes it appear to be a legitimate merchant (ex: Walmart), there the consumer is asked to enter an email address and other personal information, including home address, phone number and credit/debit card numbers. 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 consumer 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 the opportunity to select their “free” gift, but it will end up costing the consumer a great deal of money in fees, hidden subscriptions, and unwanted products. In addition, at the end of the process there is no guarantee that the consumer will even receive the gift.

The above example shows several signs of being a typical fraudulent Walmart email, such as an outdated logo and having a PO Box listed as an address.

Walmart Practices

  • Walmart does not solicit online for individuals to complete online surveys for gift cards or free gifts, 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 emails or surveys that are contingent on your making purchases, subscriptions, or fulfilling other financial requirements
  • Drawings for the legitimate Walmart 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 or other gifts
  • Don't click on or respond to online ads or websites offering free gift cards or other gifts
  • 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 Sponsor Offer scams


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

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

Additional Resources


BBB Scam Stopper
Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker

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 or gift card.

In reality, the IRS usually first contacts people by mail – not by phone – about unpaid taxes. The IRS or any other government agency, such as prisons or jails, won’t ask for payment using a pre-paid debit card, gift cards, or money transfers. 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

Additional Resources


Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration
FTC Complaint Assistant
Report Phishing
Money Gram Payment Services Consumer Protection Information
Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker
Ria Money Transfer Consumer Protection

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