How to Beat Walmart Scams and Stay Safe While Shopping

Walmart may be known for its great prices and variety of products, but its unfortunately now also known as a prime target for scammers.


Verified.org
Updated 18 May 2021
How to Beat Walmart Scams and Stay Safe While Shopping
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Phishing Statistics 2021


90% of data breaches are caused by phishing
3.4 billion phishing emails are sent every day

1.4 million phishing websites are created every month

Source: Digital InTheRound, 2021

Sections on this page
  1. Best Practices when Dealing with Walmart
  2. How to Detect Walmart Scams
  3. What to Do if You Are a Victim of a Walmart Scam
  4. Common Walmart Scams
  5. Frequently Asked Questions

Walmart is a very well-known company with multiple Walmart stores in every U.S. state and in 24 countries worldwide, it draws scammers like a magnet. Many have fallen victim to Walmart scams which use the company's good name to give a sense of security while they steal data or money from you. It's important to know what to look for so you don't become another victim of Walmart scams.

Best Practices when Dealing with Walmart

If you watch your back, you can prevent scammers from stealing your data or money. By following these best practices with Walmart, you can stay safe:

  • Only use Walmart gift cards at either the official Walmart online store or physical Walmart stores. No other legitimate company or government agency will accept Walmart gift cards.
  • Only buy Walmart gift cards or check their balance at Walmart.com or a physical Walmart store.
  • Do not purchase a Walmart gift card with altered or manipulated packaging.
  • Only trust details about your account if an email comes from the domain of walmart.com.
  • Double-check any offers or order information that seems suspicious at the official walmart.com site.
  • Use a strong password for your Walmart account, change it frequently, and don't reuse your old passwords.
  • Never share your account password with anyone.
  • Always check that you are on walmart.com before you make a purchase.

How to Detect Walmart Scams

There are a variety of Walmart scams you may run into, but there are a few ways you can tell you are being scammed. Before you interact with anyone claiming to be from Walmart, check for these scam indicators:

  • An email that claims you made a purchase or that there are issues with your account doesn't come from the walmart.com domain. Look carefully. Scammers will use domains that look similar.
  • Bad spelling or grammar in an email or text message.
  • A request for your password or financial account information over email. Walmart will never ask for personal information like this over email or text, so if you are asked for these, you are dealing with a scammer.
  • Fear tactics or urgency to goad you into taking action.
  • A request for you to pay for products or services from a company or person other than Walmart with a Walmart gift card. Walmart gift cards are only valid to purchase items at Walmart. Anyone claiming otherwise is a scammer.
  • Free Walmart gift card offer that requires you to enter personal details or credit card information in order to get it.

What to Do if You Are a Victim of a Walmart Scam

If you’ve fallen victim to a Walmart scam, there is no guarantee you’ll be able to recoup any lost funds, but there are a few things you should do to at least keep your information safe.

Contact Your Bank

If a Walmart scammer accessed your credit or debit card information, or you lost money, report the fraud to your bank or financial institution. You may not be able to get your money back, but it’s worth a try, especially since many credit cards come with decent fraud protection.

Secure Your Walmart Account

If you receive an email claiming to be from Walmart about a recent purchase you made, and you don't remember making that purchase, there are two possibilities:

  • It is from a scammer and not a legitimate email from Walmart.
  • Your Walmart account has been compromised.

The first thing you need to do is use the official Walmart app on your phone or go to walmart.com in your browser and log in instead of clicking on a link in the email. Then do the following:

  • Delete your saved payment methods.
  • Change your password to a new unique password.
  • Check your credit card statements for any unauthorized charges and contact your financial institutions if there have been any.

If you have entered your Walmart account credentials in a fraudulent website, visit the official Walmart website or app and change your password immediately before the scammers gain access to your account.

If you have entered credit card or banking details in a fraudulent website, contact your bank or credit card company to cancel your cards and stop any fraudulent charges.

Report Walmart Scams

You should report all Walmart scams to the company directly and to the authorities:

Common Walmart Scams

Scammers have found many ways to use the Walmart name to help them trick unsuspecting people out of their data or money. Here are some of the scams you may run into.

Walmart Gift Card Scams

Using this scam, a scammer will demand that you pay them with a gift card. They do this because using a gift card makes it harder for authorities to trace the money. They will have you buy Walmart gift cards in the amount of your "purchase" and then ask you for the card number and the pin. Once they have that, they will take your money and disappear. They are many varieties to this scam. Here are some of them:

  • Shopping Scam: You will be asked to pay for items purchased at an online auction or store with a gift card.
  • Grandparent Scam: The scammer will say that a family member is in trouble or has been injured and may even impersonate a lawyer and ask for money via Walmart gift cards to help them.
  • Tech Support Scam: A scammer will impersonate tech support and claim your computer is infected with a virus or malware. They will then convince you to buy unnecessary software using gift cards.
  • Online Romance Scam: You will be asked to send gift card numbers and PINs to a person pretending to be in a relationship with you so they can visit you.
  • Charity Scam: The scammer will claim to represent a charity that only accepts donations in the form of Walmart gift cards.
  • Fake Check Scam: Someone will send you payment for an item in the form of a check, and the amount will be greater than the selling price of the item you sold. They will then ask you to refund the excess money using Walmart gift cards, and the check will eventually bounce.

Walmart Free Gift Card Scams

In this Walmart texting scam, a scammer may text with a message that says you won a free Walmart gift card with a link and all you have to do is enter a special code at the website. But once you get to the site, you will be asked to provide personal information or credit card details to claim the free card.

The scammer will then steal your information or money, and you will never get the gift card.

Walmart Phishing Scams

In this Walmart scam, you will receive an email or text message that seems to come from Walmart. It will reference a purchase it says you made recently, even though you didn't. Or it may claim there are problems with your online account.

The email or text will contain a link to what it claims is the official Walmart website, but it will actually direct you to a fake site with a domain that looks similar, like "Wa1mart.com." There you will be asked to log in at a page that looks like the real Walmart login or provide credit card or bank account details. This is all an attempt to steal your information. Once you enter this information, the scammer will have access to your Walmart account or your money.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Walmart secret shopper a scam?

Yes. Walmart does not hire secret shoppers or anything of the sort from third-party companies. Scammers will impersonate Walmart to hire secret shoppers in an attempt to steal their money. 

Is the Walmart gift card a scam?

Walmart gift cards themselves are not a scam. They are legitimate products you can use to buy items from Walmart. There are, however scams involving Walmart gift cards, including other "businesses" or even scammers posing as government departments (e.g., IRS) requesting payment via Walmart gift cards. 

How do I report Walmart scams?

Depending on the type of scams, you should report them directly to Walmart either online, by phone, or by email. You can also report scams to the FTC and the FBI's IC3 department.

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