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Walmart warns customers about gift bag scam on Facebook

The retailer says consumers should beware of offers that sound too good to be true

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Photo (c) AlbertPego - Getty Images
Don’t get too excited about any Facebook posts you’ve seen about Walmart giving away free gift bags and more; they’re not for real.

A few weeks ago, Walmart announced that it was trying to free itself of plastic bags and identify solutions that could serve a similar function for the betterment of the environment. However, no good deed goes unpunished -- or should we say “unscammed.” Walmart’s announcement led to scammers creating a post on a fake Walmart Facebook page that’s gone viral. 

The post featured photos of people standing behind dozens of reusable blue bags, claiming that the retail giant is giving away gift bags filled with products and a $75 voucher to those who share and comment on the post. 

“To celebrate the Great news of Walmart becoming plastic bags free by the end of 2021, we are giving one of these Walmart gift-bags to every person who share & comment before Thursday @ 5pm. Each person who does this will have their bag full of goodies and a $75 voucher delivered straight to their door on Friday!” the scam post alleges.

Keep your personal information safe

On the surface, it looks like consumers might not be able to be harmed by the scam. After all, liking a post isn’t likely to compromise an account in any way. However, the next instructions given out by the scammers are the dangerous part. 

The post goes on to tell people to validate their entries at a specific link. That link leads to a prompt asking those who clicked to enter their personal information, which can later be used by cybercriminals.

By all accounts, 26,000 people took the bait and “liked” the page. What Walmart says those Facebookers failed to do was take a hard look at the photo. It had been digitally doctored, adding in the Walmart logos on the bags and t-shirts. Another dead giveaway that the page was fake was that it was missing the little blue checkmark indicating that the page has been verified by Facebook. Comparing apples to apples, the real Walmart Facebook page has that blue checkmark and more than 34 million likes.

“This page is not affiliated with or endorsed by Walmart,” a Walmart spokesperson said. “We take any fraud impacting our customers seriously and continue to implement and improve upon measures designed to help guard against various consumer scams.”

Look before you leap

Walmart wants consumers to know that asking questions before clicking and liking social media posts or emails can save themselves time -- and money lost to a scammer. 

To help, the company has set up an impressive list of FAQs regarding all sorts of scams that have impacted either them as a company or one of their customers -- from gift cards to mystery shoppers and in-store surveys.

If you ever encounter something that seems fishy and it relates to Walmart, your first reaction should be to double-check with the company’s list of frauds and scams. The company says anyone suspecting that they have been directed to a phony website claiming to be connected with Walmart should take further action so that the scam can be ended.

“If you suspect you have received a fraudulent email claiming to be from Walmart, please send the email directly to Walmart at OnlineAbuse@walmart.com with the scam as an attachment,” the company asks. 

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