Photo of Walmart Giftcard

Photo of Walmart Giftcard

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Update: $1000 Walmart Gift Card Scam

Hey Scambook readers! We’ve had a phenomenal response to our blog from last Friday on the fiasco about the Walmart gift card scam. We can’t believe the number of complaints that have been submitted over the past few days. Almost 2000 complaints, and the number keeps rising by the hour.

We did a little research on how these scams work here at Scambook. Thanks to Walmart’s website we are able to relay this information back to our users for the inside scoop on how this scam works, what Walmart practices, and how to protect yourself.

Just to refresh our memory let’s take a minute to go over what “smishing” is:

Smishing is the latest  scam. Instead of getting an e-mail, you get a text message. The word is a combination of “SMS,” for short message service, also known as text messaging, and “phishing.” In the text message you’re instructed to call a toll-free number, which is answered by a bogus interactive voice-response system that tries to fool you into providing your account number and password. Whatever you do, do not do this! (The image above was sent to us from one of our users, and this is exactly what the smishing message looks like).

 

Here’s the 411 about 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.

Example:

2. The consumers  is taken to a website that has branding that makes it seem that it is a legitimate merchant (in this case ex: Walmart), here the consumer will be asked to input an email address, and other personal contact information; including an 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, which means you will receive calls from telemarketers and junk mail.

Example:

 

 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. This alone should be enough to not complete any of the sponsor surveys, but again this information is only stated in the fine print, that most people always skip or never bother to read.

Many of our users have said they completed the survey and never received anything. All they received was a bunch unsolicited telemarketing phone calls.

 

Walmart’s practices:

A few things you should know about what Walmart does not do.

- 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.

 

A few tips on how to protect yourself against these scams:

- Don’t open or respond to unsolicited e-mails offering free gift cards; (we know it’s very tempting to open the e-mail but trust us, you’re better off just deleting the e-mail or text message).

- Don’t click on or respond to online ads or websites offering free gift cards; (you know which ones we’re referring to, the ones that pop out of no where and say “You’ve won”).

- Avoid filling out forms in email messages that ask for personal financial information. You should only communicate information such as credit card numbers or account information via a secure website or the telephone.

- Always ensure that you’re using a secure website when submitting credit card or other sensitive information via your Web browser. Phishers are now able to ‘spoof’, or forge Both the “https://” that you would normally see when you’re on a secure Web server and a legitimate-looking address. You may even see both in the link of a scam email. Again, make it a habit to enter the address of any banking, shopping, auction, to financial transaction website yourself and not depend on the displayed links.

- Pay attention to the website URL. If the URL does not match the branding to a legitimate website navigate away from the website. Always check where the URL ID is coming from. Remember not all scam sites will try to show the “https://” and/or the security lock. Get in the habit of looking at the address line, too. Be aware of where you are going.

 

Always report “phishing” or “spoofed” emails and “smishing” messages to the following groups:

- Submit a complaint at Scambook

- Forward the email to reportphishing@antiphishing.org

- Forward the email to the Federal Trade Commission at spam@uce.com

- Forward the email to the “abuse” email address at the company that is being spoofed (e.g. “spoof@ebay.com”)

- When forwarding spoofed messages, always include the entire original email with its original header information intact

- Notify The Internet Crime Complaint Center of the FBI by filing a complaint in their website: www.ic3.gov/

 

Walmart is asking their customers to notify them directly as well about this scam…

Per Walmart:

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.

Remember, no reputable business would send you an email requesting your personal information. Any emails you may receive asking for this type of information should be considered phony and brought to the attention of the business being phished or smished.

 

See Also

Scambook Case Study: $1000 Walmart Gift Card Scam
Smishing Epidemic Moves onto Best Buy?
Mobile Text Spam is Illegal

Image sources
Jim Wall
Got a complaint? Report it to Scambook!

Author:

Scambook is an online complaint resolution platform dedicated to obtaining justice for victims of fraud with unprecedented speed and accuracy. By building communities and providing resources on the latest scams, Scambook arms consumers with the up-to-date information they need to stay on top of emerging schemes. Since its inception, Scambook has resolved over $10 million in reported consumer damages.

Comments

  1. MMcQuown

    I got as far as getting Netflix and Doubleday Book Club memberships out of it. The book club ws a pain in the rear, but the Netflix was a good deal. WHen I got to the second page where they asked for participation in 13 more offers, I quit.

    Reply
  2. Jac

    And never EVER give out your cell phone number on one of these sites. You may be automatically opted into a premium subscription, billed to your cell phone. Or you may unknowingly subscribe to something just by “confirming” your cell phone number, failing to notice the fine print. Be careful. These sites are bad news.

    Reply
  3. Dianne Adams

    I received a text message today from 314.677-4492 telling me I was the winner of a $1000 Walmart gift card. I started getting into the body of the text but when it came to the point in the text where I had to select “I agree” to receive phone calls, texts, etc. from CRC and some other company name, I backed out of the whole thing, shut off my phone and quit. I did not supply any personal information, other than my address and cell number, which they already had.

    Reply
  4. Stanley

    It’s a good thing you brought this up. Quite useful information. I’ve read a lot about this gift certificate scams and even my sister got a call like that, too. The call came from 850-902-6307 but she knew it was a scam right away so she hung up. It was a good thing that there’s callercenter.com where we first learned about the latest phone scams and when we looked up the phone number at the site, sure enough, the complaints associated with the phone number came up.

    I felt obligated to post this information so others can be warned ahead against such schemes.

    Reply
  5. brandy

    Did anyone try calling this number? Mine went to “an automated voice messaging system that has not been set up yet” i am very upset! My phone number is private!

    Reply
  6. Amy

    My husband woke me up at 3:25am telling me to follow up on the text that he had received a minute earlier stating that he had won a $1000 gift card from Wal Mart & since it said that there were only 161 left he thought he should wake me up!! Let me tell ya..if he wasn’t so lost when it comes to computers, the internet, and all the scams that come with it, I probably would’ve shoved his phone up his…….LOL!!

    Reply
  7. Ronald Freeman

    The following text message was received at 6:32am this date on both my wife’s and my cell phones. Message sent from 1-501-517-8417:

    You have been selected for a $1000 Walmart Giftcard. Enter Code: “FREE” at http://www.walmart.com.wmgc.biz to claim your price. Act Fast Supplies Limited!

    Information to notify you was obtained at Scambook.com on the internet.

    Reply
  8. Tanya Stauble

    I received a text message today about $1,000 gift card from Wal-Mart. I came across your site and emailed Walmart. Thank you so much for the information!!!!

    Reply
  9. Carol S.

    I got a message saying I’d won a $1000 Walmart gift card as part of a free gift basket, also they offer free gas vouchers. You call 1-800-940-2686 and they give you an activation code, while on the line they get you to give them your credit card info. for $3.90 for free 1-year subscription to a magazine, that you supposedly can cancel after 14 days and guess what? You get to keep the free gift basket! I went thru the penny auctions and offers of $100 McDonalds gift cards, desparately trying to win something for my trouble, filled out endless surveys, before I came to the part where they ask you to pay an additional $4.95 for some kind of coupon membership, again another 14 day trial period after which you will be charged a $99.00 annual membership fee! I realized I’d been taken, looked it up and fortunately found Scambook. I called them (at all three numbers) and of course they give you runaround so I just ordered a new credit card. I told them they were on Scambook, by the way! The graphics on the site look so real and they have a BBB logo, but watch out.

    Reply
  10. B. Dorsey

    Also, why are people so desperate? I’m jobless too, but I can smell a scam a mile away. They come to my door posing as security companies, they call my house to give me a “free” vacation that I won through a sweepstakes I never entered and they send text messages for free $1000 gift card that I won while shopping at Walmart last month when I never shopped at Walmart.

    People stop being so desperate and wake up! A fool is a fool is a fool, so stop being gullible or even a little greedy. It smells like garbage, so throw it away!

    Reply
  11. Deana Raymondo

    I recieved a text yesterday evening from 3146813756 saying I won a $1000.00 walmart gift card. I knew it was a scam right away. Since I am employed at Sam’s Club, Walmarts sister, I would never be eligible for a “weekly drawing”. Lol how stupid are they?!

    Reply
  12. Daria Nommay

    Very interesting details you have observed , appreciate it for putting up. “Brass bands are all very well in their place outdoors and several miles away.” by Sir Thomas Beecham.

    Reply
  13. Szablony allegro

    This unique blog is definitely entertaining and besides factual. I have picked many interesting advices out of this blog. I’d love to come back every once in a while. Thanks a lot!

    Reply
  14. Kim Lornell

    Either Walmart or a Walmart employee/contractor is involved in this. Here’s why: I detest WalMart’s practices and haven’t shopped there in 15 years. I also very rarely give out my cell number and have NEVER EVER received a scam text. But I was desperate last week and purchased something online for store pickup that I couldn’t find ANYWHERE else. I received a text message on my cellphone that it was ready for pickup. The next day (today) I received the alert@walmartprizes.mobi scam text. This is the first scam text I’ve received in over 10 years of having this cell number and it happened the NEXT DAY after getting the first text I have ever received from Walmart. As much as I dislike Walmart, I am going to notify them of this, because clearly someone at Walmart with access to these numbers is giving them to the spammer.

    Reply

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