Based on the number of readers writing us from all over the country with almost the exact same complaint, we suspect that a thieving hacker somewhere in New York City is enriching himself at the expense of Walmart MoneyCard holders. Even worse, Walmart appears to have done nothing about this.
Linda P. of Farmington, Missouri, wrote us on Sept. 2 to complain: “[S]ome man in Brooklyn, New York, got my Walmart card number and made a duplicate card through Walmart's system. That man stole every penny I had on my card and Walmart allowed it to happen. He spent MY money that I earned at a Target in Brooklyn, New York [….] When I called Walmart, I explained to them that the money on that card was all I had for another month. I asked them if they could give me a voucher for food, or drinks. They said NO! […] I may lose everything I have and all Walmart has to say is ‘wait until the posted date’? This is unacceptable. Thank you, Walmart, for ‘guaranteeing’ my money.”
Kelly L. of Canton, Ohio, posted a similar complaint on Sept. 13: “I have had my Walmart money card for almost a year now [….] on 09-09-2013 I woke up to check my account and the balance was $1.41 […] the day before, there were 5 purchases from a Target store in New York [….] I am waiting for [Walmart] to send me a new card so I can get the amount owed to me, then I am closing my account.”
Two Californians reported similar problems on Sept. 15: Paul H. from Downey said “I just got paid Friday and deposited most of my check on my Walmart money card. Bought a few groceries with the card, went home and paid my Sprint bill, all was well. The next day on the way to the park I stopped at the Walmart neighborhood market to pick up some things for the grill, at check out my card was declined [….] I thought I would check my account on my phone. After signing in I saw a balance of zero, I thought, what the hell? I checked my transactions and saw the swipe reload, groceries, Sprint and three charges from Target. [….] Once they saw those New York charges and saw that that same day I was making charges in California they should have stepped up and said we know this is a problem and we will get it resolved. But we'll see what happens; I've got a feeling it's not gonna turn out good for me.”
The same day, Jackie S. of Citrus Heights reported: “I have had a Walmart money card in Sacramento California for the past 7 years [….] this past Friday I used my card at Starbucks early Friday morning; by the time I went to pay for my lunch my whole account was wiped clean. After calling Walmart, they said that somebody in New York, New York used it at a Target when clearly I'm in Sacramento, California; they say I can file a claim but it's going to take probably 45 days to get my 1,500 dollars back.”
Despite the frequent mention of Target, there’s no evidence suggesting that company has anything to do with this scam; it’s simply where the hacker or hackers chose to spend their ill-gotten money (there being no Walmart stores in New York City).
What to do
Walmart has not yet responded to a request for comment.
If you’re a Walmart MoneyCard holder whose account has been hacked, you should immediately contact Walmart (via email rather than over the phone, so you’ll have an electronic paper trail of your complaints), and also contact your local police department to determine how to file a fraud complaint.