Beware Of These Common Walmart Scams
Walmart has become one of the top targets for scammers, hackers, and cybercriminals who target the more than 230 million customers who visit the retail giant’s locations and online store each week.
According to the latest research [*]:
Walmart was the most impersonated brand by scammers at the beginning of 2023, with 16% of all phishing attempts claiming to be from the shopping giant.
Whether it’s phishing emails or texts pretending to be Walmart, hackers attempting to break in to your Walmart.com account, or con artists pressuring you to send them Walmart gift cards, it pays to be able to spot and avoid scams targeting Walmart.
In this guide, we’ll explain how Walmart scams typically happen, the latest schemes to watch out for, and what to do if you’ve become the victim of a Walmart scam.
How Do Walmart Scams Work?
Walmart scams include a range of schemes and cons that use the Walmart name to gain your trust and trick you into sharing sensitive information, sending money, or giving up access to your Walmart.com account.
While there are numerous different types of Walmart scams, almost all of them follow one of these patterns:
- Fake messages claiming to be from Walmart employees. Criminals send you phishing emails or text messages (a.k.a. smishing), or get you on a phone call claiming to be from Walmart and then ask you to provide your personal and financial information.
- Imposters demanding Walmart gift cards. Scammers impersonate government officials or other people you trust and ask you to buy and send untraceable and nonrefundable Walmart gift cards.
- Fraudulent Walmart surveys, giveaways, and job offers. Cybercriminals contact you or use pop-up ads and social media to get you to submit your financial information in exchange for a “free gift” or “special prize,” or to get hired by Walmart.
While the patterns of the scams are the same, fraudsters are constantly finding new ways to pull them off and trick you. So what are the latest Walmart scams you should be aware of?
The 12 Latest Walmart Scams (and How To Identify Them)
- Bogus Walmart job offers (Walmart mystery shoppers)
- Fake Walmart phishing emails
- Fraudulent Walmart “delivery notification” texts
- Government imposters demanding Walmart gift cards
- Fake Walmart online survey scams
- Posting fake Walmart giveaways or “special offers” on social media
- Setting up phishing websites offering free Walmart prizes
- Pretending to offer support from Walmart’s Pandemic Relief Program
- Setting up fraudulent Walmart gift card “balance-checking” websites
- Sending fake Walmart.com password reset emails
- Walmart “gift card virus” pop-up scams
- Selling fake or spent Walmart gift cards on Facebook Marketplace
With hundreds of millions of customers, scammers know there’s a good chance you’re a Walmart shopper — and could fall for one of their schemes.
Here’s how to spot and avoid the latest Walmart scams:
1. Bogus Walmart job offers (Walmart mystery shoppers)
Mystery shoppers pretend to be customers in order to evaluate the staff and appearance of a store. While it’s a legitimate job, the Better Business Bureau has warned that fraudsters are using the lure of a secret shopper job to scam Walmart shoppers intro providing sensitive information and even payment during bogus job interviews [*].
For example, scammers will often send checks to their victims with instructions to purchase gift cards at Walmart and send photos of them (and the PIN on the back). But a few days later, the check will come back as fraudulent — and the full amount is withdrawn from the victim’s account.
How to spot and avoid bogus Walmart job offers:
- Don’t respond to unsolicited offers of secret shopper jobs. These are almost always scams. If you’re looking for a Walmart secret shopper job, you’ll need to apply with the company or a legitimate third-party hiring agency.
- Look for the warning signs of a job scam. This can include instant hires, short interviews conducted via WhatsApp or Telegram, or recruiters pushing for sensitive information — such as your bank account details, Social Security number (SSN), etc. The letter or email may also show signs of a scam, such as using outdated Walmart branding — for example, “Wal-Mart” or “WAL-MART” instead of “Walmart”.
- Never cash or spend funds from a check until it has fully cleared. There’s a delay of a few days between when your bank shows the money in your account and when a check actually clears. If in doubt, contact your bank to make sure the funds are real.
2. Fake Walmart phishing emails
Scammers send fake emails that use Walmart’s logo, design, and spoofed email addresses to trick you into thinking you’re receiving an official message from the company. Fake Walmart phishing emails can take many forms, including fraudulent alerts about issues with your orders, password reset requests for your Walmart+ account, or phony giveaways.
But ultimately, the goal is the same: get you to click on a malicious link that takes you to a fake website and steals your passwords, payment details, or personal information.
How to spot and avoid fake Walmart phishing emails:
- Check the sender’s “from name”. Anyone can change their “from name” in their email provider to make it look like they’re contacting you from Walmart. Click on the sender’s name to reveal their email address. If it’s not from an official @Walmart.com email address, it’s a scam.
- Don’t click on suspicious links. If you think there could be an issue with your account or an order, log in to your Walmart account directly to check. Don’t click on the link in the email.
- Look for warning signs of a phishing scam. Fake emails often have poor-quality logos, strange language, spelling, and formatting, and create a sense of urgency. Any of these elements can be a warning sign of a scam.
3. Fraudulent Walmart “delivery notification” texts
With millions of people waiting on Walmart orders every day, scammers send fake texts claiming there was an issue with your purchase — and that you need to click on a link or pay fees before it will be delivered.
These scam messages may come via text or email and will claim to either be from Walmart or a shipping company, such as USPS, UPS, or FedEx.
How to spot and avoid a fake Walmart delivery notification:
- Check your order or tracking number directly. Don’t click on links in the text or email. Instead, go to your Walmart account or find the original shipping notification from the delivery company and check with them directly.
- Make sure the tracking numbers match. Scammers will try to make their emails look legitimate by using a subject line that reads: Your Failed Package Delivery Notification ID#. Make sure the tracking number in the email matches your records.
- Don’t pay to receive packages (after they’ve already shipped). Scammers may threaten to withhold your delivery until you pay a fee or fine. This is always a scam.
4. Government imposters demanding Walmart gift cards
Scammers often want Walmart gift cards as they’re easy to buy and almost impossible to trace or refund once you’ve sent them the numbers and PINs. In this con, fraudsters call or message you pretending to be from a government agency, such as the IRS, FBI, or DMV. They’ll claim there’s an issue and that you owe money — or else risk fines, taxes, or even prison time — and that the only way to pay is with Walmart gift cards.
How to spot a government imposter scam:
- Government employees will never ask for Walmart gift cards. The same goes for utility companies, other brands, and anyone else who calls or messages you. If someone is pressuring you to buy gift cards it’s a scam.
- Only use Walmart gift cards for Walmart purchases. Gift cards are meant for gifts. They should only be used to make purchases at Walmart or on Walmart.com.
5. Fake Walmart online survey scams
Walmart occasionally invites customers to take an online survey about their shopping experience in return from a small gift card or compensation. But scammers create fake Walmart online surveys to gain access to sensitive information they can use for identity theft or financial fraud. These scam surveys can come via emails, texts, or even pop-ups on popular websites.
How to spot and avoid a fake Walmart survey scam:
- Never give out personal information in surveys. No legitimate companies ask for details like your home address, SSN, or bank account data in their customer experience surveys.
- Look for common scam signals. For example, spelling errors (such as “Walmrat” instead of “Walmart”) or outdated Walmart logos (such as “Wal-Mart” instead of “Walmart”).
- Contact Walmart customer support directly. If you want to ensure that the survey is legitimate, send an email to Walmart directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. Posting fake Walmart giveaways or “special offers” on social media
Many retail companies organize social media giveaways. So it’s no surprise that scammers have hijacked this method to target people. For example, last year, scammers used Facebook ads to claim that Walmart was giving away gift bags and a $75 voucher in honor of the company going plastic-bag-free — all you had to do was click on a link and enter personal information
How to spot and avoid a Walmart giveaway scam on social media:
- Only trust giveaways from the official Walmart social page. Click on the profile photo and make sure that the giveaway is being hosted on the official Walmart social media page. Beware of spoofed pages or profiles that use Walmart’s name.
- If in doubt, contact Walmart. A verified page doesn’t automatically mean the contest is safe. Check for other signs of a fake social media page, like strange links and poor spelling. You can also contact Walmart at 1-800-925-6278 (1-800-WALMART) and ask if the post and offer are real.
📚 Related: How To Identify a Sweepstakes or Lottery Scam →
7. Setting up phishing websites offering free Walmart prizes
Recently, scammers have set up fake websites that look nearly identical to the real Walmart website, and use it to scam visitors into submitting their payment info or giving away personal details as part of a fake giveaway pop-up.
How to spot and avoid Walmart phishing websites:
- Check the URL. If you’re not on the official Walmart.com website, it’s a scam. Beware of spoofed website URLs, such as “Walmrat.com” or “free-Walmart-giveaways.com”.
- Use Safe Browsing tools to block scam websites. Aura’s all-in-one digital security solution includes tools that can identify and block malicious websites before you enter them.
- Never give up personal information for a prize. Beware of links to third-party sites or requests for your sensitive information before you can claim a prize (full name, address, phone number, credit card details, etc.)
8. Pretending to offer support from Walmart’s Pandemic Relief Program
Scammers are also pretending to be from Walmart’s charities — Walmart.org and the Walmart Foundation — and offering Pandemic Relief payments. But these are just one of the many Covid scams out there.
If you click on the link, the scammers will ask you to complete a form that steals your sensitive information or even to wire them money in order to “reserve” a government stimulus check.
How to spot and avoid a Walmart charity scam:
- Walmart’s charitable divisions do not give money to individuals. Neither will ever send text messages or emails seeking applications for grants.
- Don’t give out personal information or cash checks that are sent to you. Don’t trust websites that ask you to verify your personal and/or banking information to receive your “stimulus check” or checks that arrive in the mail and tell you to call a number to cash them.
9. Setting up fraudulent Walmart gift card “balance-checking” websites
One of the ways that scammers will try to access the funds on your Walmart gift cards is by creating fake “gift card balance-checking” websites. These sites look like they’re from Walmart — but if you enter your gift card numbers, they’ll go directly to a scammer.
The bottom line: Only check your Walmart gift card balances using the official balance checker tool on Walmart.com.
📚 Related: The 10 Latest Costco Scams You Didn't Know About →
10. Sending fake Walmart.com password reset emails
With more people shopping on Walmart online, scammers have started targeting them with fake password-reset emails. In this scam, you receive an email claiming your Walmart.com account has been hacked and that you need to reset your account and password.
The email will look legitimate, and so will the site where it takes you. But when you enter your info, it’s stolen by hackers who can then use it to make fraudulent purchases or steal your stored credit card numbers.
How to spot and avoid fake Walmart.com password reset emails:
- Check for the usual warning signs of a phishing email. Follow the standard advice of checking the from name (to be sure it comes from an @Walmart.com email address) and looking for suspicious links, strange spelling and formatting, etc.
- Confirm any account issues directly with Walmart. If you think your Walmart.com login has been compromised, sign in to your account through the official website to change your password. Never enter your password on a site that was linked to you from an email.
📚 Related: Was Your Walmart Account Hacked? Do This! →
11. Walmart “gift card virus” pop-up scams
In this variation of a Walmart gift card scam, victims are bombarded with pop-ups in their web browsers that advertise free Walmart gift cards — as long as you complete a survey. If you’re seeing these types of pop-ups, it likely means that your device has been infected with adware — a specific type of malware that takes over your browser and repeatedly displays ads.
How to spot and avoid the Walmart gift card virus:
- Close the page quickly. Whenever the pop-up appears, exit the page and avoid quickly — but avoid clicking on any links or entering any of your information.
- Install antivirus software. These pop-ups will persist until you get rid of the malicious code that’s launching them. Aura’s antivirus software can scan your devices for malware, ransomware, adware, Trojans and more.
12. Selling fake or spent Walmart gift cards on Facebook Marketplace
Many people go on sites like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist to buy gift cards at a discount. But even if a gift card looks brand new and untampered with, scammers can steal the numbers on them before you buy them. The same goes for gift cards from other retailers, such as Apple, Amazon, Target, and eBay.
How to spot and avoid fake Walmart gift cards on online marketplaces:
- Only buy gift cards directly or through approved third-party resellers. Don’t fall for a too-good-to-be-true deal. Only buy gift cards directly from Walmart or using a legitimate third-party gift card resale site such as Giftcards.com, Cardpool, CardKangaroo, CardCash, or Raise.com
- Check physical cards for signs of damage or tampering. Run your finger over the back of a card to ensure the sticker hasn’t been removed or another placed overtop of it.
- Beware of anyone asking for payment through suspicious methods. Scammers will ask for payment in ways that can’t be reversed or offer little fraud protection — such as via wire transfers, cryptocurrencies, or personal payments on apps like Zelle, Cash App, and Venmo.
Were You The Victim of a Walmart Scam? Do This!
Walmart scams can be extremely dangerous — even leading to serious financial losses and identity theft, if you don’t act quickly enough.
As soon as you realize you’ve been targeted by one of these scams, follow these steps:
- Secure your identity. If you have identity theft insurance, call your provider and explain the situation. They’ll help you walk through the steps to secure your identity. Otherwise, follow the steps outlined below.
- File an official report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). An official FTC report will help you dispute frauds and prove you’re a victim. It will also include a personalized guide on how to recover your identity. You can file a report at IdentityTheft.gov.
- Contact your local police department. If you have information that you think could lead to an arrest — or feel your personal safety is at risk — file a police report with your local law enforcement.
- Freeze your credit with all three bureaus. A credit freeze prevents scammers from using your stolen information to open new accounts or take out loans in your name. To freeze your credit, contact each of the three credit bureaus individually — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
- Update your online accounts and passwords. Scammers target your online accounts using passwords and information they steal during Walmart scams. It’s a good idea to update all of your sensitive online account passwords (email, social media, banking, etc.). For added security, store your credentials in a secure password manager and enable two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever possible.
- Contact your bank’s fraud department. Explain that you’ve been the victim of fraud or identity theft and that you’d like to cancel your accounts. Your bank will issue you a new bank account as well as credit and debit cards.
- Remove your saved payment methods from Walmart.com. If your credit card details or other payment information is saved in your online Walmart account, remove them to prevent scammers from accessing them.
- Regain access to your Walmart.com account. If someone locks you out of your Walmart.com account, you can request a password reset or contact Walmart customer support online.
- Scan your device for malware and other viruses. Ensure your devices are safe by installing antivirus software and running a full scan.
- Try to reverse any payments you sent scammers. You may be able to recover your money, depending on the payment method you used. Follow these steps on how to recover your money if you’ve been scammed.
- Contact Walmart to try and refund any gift cards you sent. If you think you've been the victim of a gift card scam involving Walmart Gift Cards, report it to (888) 537-5503.
- Report phishing emails to Walmart and the FTC. Report the phishing email scam to Walmart at email@example.com. Then, file a report with the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
- Consider signing up for identity theft protection. Over half of identity theft and fraud victims are repeat victims. Secure yourself against future scams by signing up for Aura’s award-winning identity theft protection solution. Learn more about how Aura keeps you safe →
The Bottom Line: Protect Yourself From Walmart Scams
Scammers go where they have the highest chance of getting away undetected. Unfortunately, the sheer size of Walmart makes it a prime target for criminals and scammers.
But this doesn’t mean you need to stop shopping at Walmart.
Instead, stay aware of the latest Walmart scams and make sure you’re following the best practices for shopping online safely and protecting your identity from financial fraud and identity theft.
For added protection and peace of mind, consider signing up for Aura. We’ll monitor all your online accounts, sensitive information like your SSN and ID, and financial accounts for signs of fraud or identity theft.
With Aura, you can shop and browse knowing your identity is safe from scammers.