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Photo of a Wal-mart super center

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Scambook Case Study: $1000 Walmart Gift Card Scam

Walmart is one of the world’s leading retailers and ranked as the 18th largest public corporation in the world according to the Forbes Global 200 list.   Walmart has over 8,000 stores in 15 different countries with its headquarters located in Bentonville, Arkansas.  With its vast growth and popularity among the U.S. population with an average of 100 million weekly customers, Walmart is clearly a consumer-favorite with their staple slogan, “Save money.  Live better.”

Walmart’s reputation as one of the largest grocery retailers in the nation gives way to endless publicity and popularity, leading us to the present, where the eruption of Walmart scams have come to pollute the mobile world.

In March 2012, reports of a scam offering a “Free $1,000 Walmart Gift Card” flooded the media.  This particular scam was not hitting people through emails and online ads; instead it was infiltrating people’s cell phones in the form of text messages.

Smishing” is formed from the words “SMS” (short message service) and “phishing” (a fraudulent attempt to acquire personal information through email).  The smishing message instructs people to call a toll-free number or visit a website to redeem the $1,000 Walmart gift card.  The message typically reads, “You just won a free $1,000 Walmart Gift Card, enter “WALL” at http://promocenter.ws/walmart.”

Many sites similar to the one above appear on the results page after entering “Free Walmart Gift Card” in search engines such as Google, definitely making these sites hard to miss.  Given the economic climate, thousands of people are enticed to click when the words “Free” and “Walmart” bring the feeling of hope and relief from their financial hardships.

These offers have also been published and promoted through other noteworthy avenues such as Facebook as fan pages and PRLOG.org, a press release distribution site.  A press release on PRLOG.org  states, “These are difficult times and any saving consumers can get is really appreciated. Now, a new website has been released and as part of a special promotion thousands of American citizens have the chance to get a free $1,000 Walmart gift card. Certainly, there are thousands of ways for spending $1,000 in such a big store.”

MSNBC’s LIFEINC published an article in March 2012, reporting the 2,000 complaints submitted to Scambook, who serves as a neutral platform for consumers to voice their complaints and aims to bring both businesses and consumers to a resolution.

Considering the amount of complaints we received in a matter of weeks, Scambook felt the need to dig deeper into the matter.  What we discovered was how consumers could easily fall into handing over their personal information through the process of redeeming their “Free $1,000 Walmart Gift Card.”

 Appearing to originate from a site named GetGoodies.com, the URL takes you through what seems to be a simple process.

 

 

 

You are then directed to a registration form, which kindly requests general information.  “Tell us where to send your Free $1,000 Walmart Gift Card!”  Looks like we’re finished?   No, it doesnt stop here.

 

 

Next you are directed to a page labeled as “STEP 2,” indicating a progress bar and addressing you by your first name, “Steven, your Free $1,000 Walmart Gift Card is waiting!”  This survey takes you through a series of questions about where you stand career-wise and financially.

 

 

You are led to another page also named “STEP 2.”  In addition to the process of receiving a free Walmart gift card, you’ve won a free gift basket.  This page gives you the choice to redeem the gift basket by calling a toll-free number and retrieving an activation code to enter into the required field.  You also have the choice to skip this offer.

The offers are endless.  If you choose to skip, you land on another page that indicates “STEP 2,” instructing you to complete three more steps to supposedly retrieve the Walmart Gift Card.

The process gets more malicious.  They now prompt you to download a .exe file that they disguise to be a “Coupon Application”.

                             

Doesn’t matter if you decline the previous pages or download. You land on a pop-up page called ConsumerCarSource after completing the “three” steps. Once you complete the forms, you are directed to a page that shows several different insurance companies to get quotes from. 

                         

If you go back to your  original browser, you see “STEP 2” again with an offer to help improve your credit.  You have the option to either submit to this offer or skip.

When you choose to skip, you are led to another “STEP 2” consisting of about seven additional offers, again giving you the option to either submit or skip.  It seems like “STEP 2″ is the step that will never end.

                   

After skipping several offers, I finally reach the “LAST STEPS” to go through before retrieving my free Walmart Gift Card.   The progress bar on the top right is completed, and the site tells me I’m almost done! 
(the keyword here is “almost”)

I click on a few of the offers below to see which ones peak my interest.  Quite a few different offers appear, and I could easily justify completing any of these offers to redeem a $1,000 Walmart Gift Card.

                   

After clicking on a few offers to see which ones would suit me best, I saw a pattern of steps in each offer: 1) The offer was a bonus DVD, 2) The offer required my credit card information.

 

Conclusion

Before I realized, I found myself at a dead end where I felt I had no choice but to sign up for one of the offers to redeem the Free $1,000 Walmart Gift Card.  In addition to these offers appearing click after click, pop-ups made several appearances through the process as well.

When the first form came up it seems like the Free $1,000 Walmart Gift Card was within reach.   The ideas of a new TV and a ton of groceries were floating throughout my mind. When I reached a page with an offer requiring my credit card information, I had mixed feelings.  A big red flag when you end up not submitting information to Walmart but for the American Rifleman Video Collection? (or any company they’re trying to entice you with, Best Buy, Home Depot, etc…)

They definitely gamed with my emotions by dangling the $1,000 carrot with the 20+ “Step 2″ pages.

We here at Scambook hope that consumers would check Scambook.com when they suspect something fishy.  Thanks to all the user that have shared their experiences via our Submit a Complaint form and brought this Scam to light in such a short time.

Written by Tuanh Dinh from Scambook

 

See Also

FTC To Free Gift Card Text Message Spammers: “Game Over”
Weird News: Walmart Scammers Vomit On Video Game Receipts to Get Refunds
Consumers Lose Over $200 Million in Unused Borders Gift Cards

Got a complaint? Report it to Scambook!

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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. Nancy Marsala

    Received a text for a free $1000 Walmart gift voucher. (SAVE MONEY, LIVE BETTER) WM22391

    Not real happy with being scammed!!!

    Reply
    1. Nana

      I also recv’d this text from 832-421-6546 says to enter FREE at … walmart.com.giftpanel.biz .. I Googled first and found you.. Thanx Scambook!

      Reply
  2. Jacqueline

    Thanks for posting this. I receive scams like this all the time and dismiss them because I wasn’t victimized. It’s nice to have a forum highlighting these scams and educating consumers.

    Reply
  3. jacob

    i just want to thank scambook for making this sit to save me from yet another scam ive been scamed before and still paying for it. the thought of a for $1000.00 gift card is hard to pass up, i feel sorry for the people who didnt relize its a scam before they gave away all there info for someone to abuse and steel from you. i just hope i run in to the person running the scam so i can give them what they deserve (a beating like no other)

    Reply
  4. Willie Lucas

    I have also receive mess like this, so there is one thing that you need to know. First of all, Wal-Mart does have a way of you winning a $1000 shopping card. You have to purchase something at the store and when you do, from time to time on top of the receipt they will ask to value your opinion on your visit on that day. The receipt will have an ID number and a website that you will need in order to complete the survey. It also requires you to have the store number, which is also located on the receipt.

    Reply
  5. Karen Hughes

    I also received notification about a “free Walmart card” on my cell phone twice in one week. Knowing that you don’t get anything for free, I deleted both of them asap.

    Reply
  6. Grandpa

    Just like everybody else, got a text on my cell. Dear Walmart shopper. Congratulations you just won a $1000 Walmart Gift Card.Click here to claim your gift. http://www.WmartVIPsite.com(STOP2end) SENDER+18587054148. Something didn’t look right, google it, THANKS for the info!!

    Reply
  7. Jessica

    Okay Thursday. April the eighteenth I got a phone call saying I won a five hundred. Dollar gift card and the gave me a conformation. Number so I belived them I talked to a man then a recorder that asked me questions then they said I will get a call back with there consultant. Which I did. Then they said I will also be getting a 1000 dollars worth of coupons so I paid for them to fedex or ups. It to me sandpaper still haven’t got it is it a scam

    Reply
  8. fred

    just received a text from 1-872-202-4824 telling me about the “free” 1000.00 walmart gift card. walmart.com.myfreecard.biz/claim is what they wanted me to go to.

    Reply
  9. Carey

    I received a text today from 949-212-0342 stating:
    “WAL-MART CUSTOMER: You have been chosen for a $1000$ REWARD to use at any location. For details, go to http://www.freewmartcard.com ” I didn’t go to the website, but instead google’d the website address and nothing came up, so I looked to your site for information pertaining to a scam. Thank you for being on top of this!

    Reply
  10. Matthew Smith

    I received the walmart $1000 gift card offer, text message from 2067348981.
    I,ve been concerned about my computers security since upgrading to win 7 ultimate when I began using a free antivirus, avast. My tech stated that microsoft finally did sothing right and I didnt need to reinstall, avanced system optimizer, a program that i had depended on for years to correctall the short comings of previious operatoring systems. I was surprized when I was unable to open the site of this scam. Its a known scam and my limited security knew it and did its job. Surprize Surprize windows 7 with a free antivirus appears to be a secure platform.

    Reply
  11. KatrinKa

    I received this offer from Walmart and submitted my complaint to Scambook. Im so happy to have a place to voice my frustration, I guess Im a dumb dumb, I tried to get my 1,000 a couple times, my computer started having problems and would have to start over a few times. I probably have a virus. I have a prepaid phone and the info I supplied them with is now being used to drain my phone of minutes and my credit card is spent. They broke me. KatrinKa

    Reply
  12. Beaugrand

    I’m getting one of these $1000 gift card scan text messages a day, every day, sometimes two. The first was from a phone number in Peru (the country), lately they’ve been from more local area codes. I can block calls and messages, but these are coming from a different number each time.

    Reply
  13. Pamela R.

    I’ve received two of these bogus $1000 Walmart gift card messages within the last week. I automatically deleted the first one; my husband suggested I Google to check after the second one. That’s when I came upon your site. Thanks for keeping us updated!

    Reply
  14. Teri

    I received a text message on my phone from 14254206864. Says: Youv’e been selected to win a FREE $1000 Walmart Giftcard! It tells me a code to enter at http://www.walmart.com.wnrtbiz to get 1 now. Only 118 left! TXT STP to stop
    I deleted the text message because I assumed it’s a scam.

    Reply
  15. davidsmith

    i was told i won a free $1.000gift card but never did get it and a free gift basket too it cost me just a$1.95 hell .you take people like us that gose for it how many millions of dollars they have made from people like us? they told me they was going to give me a $100.00gas card be looking for it in the mail they have call me from different phone and state. i think something are to be done about thing like this its not right for them to take people hard earn money like that. you think you are getting a good deal but we are not ? we are just taking by walmart SCAM

    Reply
  16. Tamara Foster

    I go phished in buy that 1000 walmart, free ipad2. My husband said please help me get this ipad, so I told him it was a scam, but helped him anyway, got sucked into the “freebies” that tried to scam me for $300 then had to cancel my debit card, call them to send me a new one. Then the text’s came in and a “lottery” club billed my phone company after I opted “STOP” and they still billed me. My phone company sternly credited me the 10mo charge. I was in a whirlwind of scams and had to be houdini to get out of it.

    Reply
  17. lavinia

    Oh great I knew it had to be a scam! I got that message and clicked on the link and started the process but canceled and exited out of it because it seemed suspicious. Then within a week my phone just starts sending out emails to everyone in my contacts. The emails say like “your here because a friend invited you” or something like that then loads a page about “work from home”. I don’t know how to make this stop! It just randomly emails everyone a few times a week. Anyone else have this happen??

    Reply
  18. Todd

    I too got a smish from (917) 664-4335 offering me a Best Buy card for $1000. I really liked this article, it was hilarious! I hate these scammers!

    Reply
  19. Brendan

    Just got this silliness in an Email. Reported as SPAM in my system. thank goodness I checked this out on Google and got this site. I google almost everything now and trust me it has saved me alot of headaches. These SCAMS can be VERY good from time to time, be diligent, google for information, check other websites, Gov’t Complaint boards etc.

    Reply
  20. bomerang

    The company carries life insurance policies on their elderly employees. They don’t know it though. And you just thought they were being nice giving the eldery jobs. Of course the 1000 gift cert. is a scam.

    Reply
  21. Don

    just received a text message from 1-917-769-1958 telling me to go to hpp://www.walmart.com.wonacontest.com .
    tht site dose not exisest. ended up on your site and found out it was a scsm site thank you

    Reply
  22. squidoo phone cases

    Great beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your website, how could i subscribe for a blog web site? The account aided me a appropriate deal. I had been a little bit familiar of this your broadcast offered brilliant clear idea

    Reply
  23. william

    i attempted to sign up with an online survay site today and was asked to select from a list of survay sites of which one happend to be walmart and it offered this 1.000 daller gift card however it took too long to secure it and my instinct was correct this is certinly a scam and its everywhear.

    Reply
  24. Pingback: Scambook Warns Consumers On New TargetContests.com Scam | PMBC Group

  25. hmmm

    Hmmmm, the age old adage… ‘if it seems to good to be true… it probably is’ ! Any offer from walmart or any other company would be posted on their facebook page or website.

    Reply

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