Walmart Cashiers stealing cashback - Internet/Facebook Rumour
Something happened to me this past weekend that I wanted to alert everyone I know to be on the look-out for while shopping at Wal Mart, especially during the busy holiday season. This trip I had a buggy full buying stuff to outfit the deer camp and the usual purchases for home, in other words I had over $200 worth of goods to buy. When I checked out, I ran my Wal Mart credit card through the machine and pressed "No" to the question of "Do you want $20 cash back?" The checker fooled around with the register and then asked me to run the card again because it did not work the first time. I dont recall pressing "No" again or even if the question came up on the card terminal. My biggest concern at that time was making sure I picked up all the bags around that carousel they use to bag your purchases. While I was moving my bags back to the cart, I didnt pay any attention to my receipt. Anyway, the next morning I looked at my receipt (I usually just throw it away without looking at it!) There was a line on it that read "$20.00 Cash Back" and another that said "Change Due 20.00." I called the manager and told him what happened and that I did not request $20.00 back, nor did I get $20.00 back. He did not seem a bit surprised. It seems that is a scheme the cashiers use to slip $20.00 in their pockets at the customers expense. The manager said I could come back to the store for the credit but now I wonder how many times this has happened to me in the past that I did not catch. I am not sure if the cashier can override the "No" or if she charged the extra $20.00 during the second swipe of the card. At least this time, she got caught the next day but I would have loved to have caught her in the act the day it happened.
Please pay attention to your receipt and dont let these thieves steal your hard earned money!!
Whether this email (and its many variants) are simply just attacks at large American enterprises, which is common, is undetermined - but claims that Walmart cashiers routinely steal money from customers are just unfounded. Whilst it is always possible that isolated events may have occurred fitting the above description (which is true for any store) this email appears exaggerated and cannot be verified.
This tale of cashiers who surreptitiously attempt to charge unsuspecting customers credit cards with secret cashback charges has been circulating social media and the Internet for many years.
The very nature of this type of rumour makes it inherently difficult to “debunk” since it is entirely possible, if not likely, that there are a minority of people working in the retail sector that would be willing to attempt a scam similar to the one described in the message.
However what we do know is that these rumours have circulated for many years, often targeting Walmart, but other variants have quoted other stores as well. Despite the claims made in these messages, it does not appear that this is a trending crime or one that is particularly popular.
Rumours have been circulating about this type of scam for a number of years and in typical urban legend fashion, they always conveniently omit any evidence or source. We were unable to locate any media stories that claim that this type of crime is becoming popular, in Walmart or any other retail chain.
Many modern point-of-sale machines only give the customer the ability to request cashback and thus the cashier would not be able to initiate this scam, and all point-of-sale machines will allow a consumer to check how much their debit or credit card will be charged before they confirm the transaction.
But of course it is entirely possible that customers who are not paying attention may flippantly confirm transactions unaware of how much the total charge and cashback amount is being attributed to the card, so the overall warning that implores users to check the amount and their receipts before leaving the store is certainly worth heeding.
What is not worth heeding is the implication in many of these warnings that claim this is a trending or new type of incident or that it is a crime that only occurs within specific retail chains such as Walmart, as these claims are unsubstantiated.
The Internet, and social networking sites like Facebook, are perfect platforms for spreading untruths, misinformation, rumor and propaganda. Thousands of inaccurate, exaggerated, deceptive or just plain false messages are circulated every single day.
For the anti-scam community to successfully tackle this plethora of false rumours, it is important that anyone who uses the Internet be able to identify false rumours and fully understands the possible consequences of spreading false information.
We have a two part blog post that helps provide this information. Part 1 deals with how to spot and debunk Internet rumours and Part 2 deals with the reasons why you should never circulate false information.
Additionally if you have fallen for this rumour or have Facebook friends that have, you can join our growing Facebook page here.