Shopping Scams: Online and Offline

Tips and pointers on how to recognize and identify a scam

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Shopping Scams: Online and Offline

Post by TheTruthTeller » Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:18 pm

Shopping scams are scams that can occur in places of shopping or on internet sites where someone may shop and they can occur both offline and online. This topic shall explore both: :-? :-B

Here is an interesting article that was found on the site known as articleurge.com that speaks of scams that can occur in department stores: :-?

"Department Store Scams
Mar.06, 2009

Scams are used on a daily basis, but we usually don’t realize just how prevalent they are. I worked at a department store for about a year and within that time I became aware of many scams used in the store that I had previously been unaware of. From creative ways of stealing to intentionally short changing the cashier. Fortunately the store I worked in had some defense against the untrustworthy shopper.

Some of the scams were very simple. One day I was working as the store’s cart attendant. I was inside the building at the time a plump black lady riding one of the store’s electric wheel chairs was setting the alarm off as she was leaving the store. No one really suspected her, but the security guard at the door walked over to her to do a routine check of her bags and receipt any way. While the guard was checking the bags the woman pointed out that the chair she was riding had one of the magnetized stickers on it that would set off the alarm. Sure enough there were three of them. The woman was free to go and went to the parking lot to off load her bags and she left. I went out to the parking lot to retrieve the store’s electric wheel chair and drove it back in to the store, but as I entered the store the alarm was not set off by those magnetized stickers. I thought that was strange, so I told the security guard and she reviewed the recording of the shopper’s journey through the store. Sure enough the shopper was seen hiding DVDs and other merchandise in her over sized purse. The security guard then told me that sometimes thieves will buy electronics while riding the store’s wheel chair. When in the parking lot they will peel the magnetized stickers off of the merchandise and put them on the chairs with the intention of coming back another day to steal something. The stickers don’t really work because the merchandise they were attached to was demagnetized at the register upon purchase, but this technique gives the thieves an excuse to use when the alarm sounds as they leave the store.

Another scam people use at department stores is the short change. There are many variations of it but they all have the same outcome, a short register. One version is when a scammer buys and item, lets say a soda for $1.00, and hands over a 5 dollar bill to pay. As the cashier goes to get $4 in change, the scammer asks if he can trade in some ones for a $10. The cashier gets the $14 dollars for the scammer and counts the ones to make sure that there are 10. The cashier catches that there are only 9 and asks for one more dollar, but the scammer also has a $10 bill he wants changed with the ones the cashier is holding and hands the cashier the $10 and $1 to make $20. So the cashier hands over a $20 bill. If you didn’t catch it read this paragraph again to find the $10 dollars missing from the register.

Fortunately the store did have its defense against thieves and scammers in the form of a undercover security guard, we’ll call him Joe. This guy probably had the most fun job in the whole store. Usually he would shadow shifty people as they browsed merchandise and if they pocketed something he would follow them to the front of the store and slap some handcuffs on them as they tried to make their exit. Then he would take them to a holding room where they were cuffed to a chair and waited for the police to arrive. This was very entertaining to watch and now that I think of it I’m glad that my store was able to provide such entertainment. Another job Joe has is to find people on the recordings in the act of stealing. If what he sees is bad enough he can black list them. When he does this he informs the other store locations of his findings so that when the criminal goes back to a store someone can call the cops and have them arrested.

Ultimately, the risk out weighs the rewards when it comes to stealing or scamming. Just don’t do it. It is a good way to get black listed and eventually arrested. So if you ever think about stealing something just remember, Joe is watching."
:-? :-B
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Re: Shopping Scams: Online and Offline

Post by TheTruthTeller » Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:30 pm

Here is more on these department store scams from the site known as outlandishmusings.com: :-? :-B

"Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Department Store Scam

One of the reasons we, as a family, love to shop at Inorbit Mall is that all the brands are under one roof and we don't have to head over to Phoenix just for a particular brand in question. Last night,what was meant to be a shopping experience, turned into an unnecessary nightmare.
This time, after we were done with a large part of our shopping mom decided to purchase some cosmetics from the Lifestyle store in Inorbit.
She ended up paying 4k for her entire purchase and decided to pay via debit card. Since she is a mobile banking customer of ICICI, she got a debit purchase sms on her cellphone, just seconds after the swipe. The debit message also contains the remaining balance in the account. A few seconds later she got a similar message with the same debit amount and a lesser balance. She spoke to the guy at the counter and enquired if he swiped the card twice. To which he said no.
On pressing for more information, we found out that they had some system error.
Post that, it was just a matter of sending an sms to ICICI bank to check the balance. We found that our balance had indeed reduced twice.
We got the store to give us an undertaking that what happened was indeed a system error, and that ICICI should credit the amount at the earliest.


What is important here :

1. If you are not registered for mobile banking, please do register. There may be a time when your bank might not send an sms due to technical issues. In that case, always check your balance before leaving the store.
2. There may be a lot of people getting duped in a similar fashion everyday. Best is to take a password protected Maestro card from your bank, so that after swiping its mandatory for you to enter a password to continue with the transaction.
3. I don't know if you know this, but make sure you always be there when swiping your card at a restaurant. Don't just give the card to the waiter. There is a lot of information on the debit card that's useful for fraud.
4. Cash is king! There is nothing wrong in stopping to carry some cash with you, just in case. And if Suze Orman were writing this post, she would ask you to carry a list with you too! :D

P.S.-- I was very angry last night with the service of Lifestyle. They kept us waiting for a really long time. But I know retailers who would not have taken any responsibility. Hence, I have kept the department store bashing at the bare minimum. However, most large retailers will not claim responsibility. Especially if you walk out of the store and come back the next day with a complaint. Its best to be alert. And yes, next morning, an online check revealed that the extra amount had been credited back to the account."
:-? :-B
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Re: Shopping Scams: Online and Offline

Post by TheTruthTeller » Sat Jun 02, 2012 12:05 am

Here are more department scams from the site known as gather.com. This deals with the Wal-Mart department store chain and there is much to learn from this:

"BEWARE - Department Store Scam!!
May 17, 2010 01:59 PM EDT

Last weekend I went into a department store (which will remain un-named, but it begins with a "W" and ends with a "T") to buy a couple of CDs. My total was $29. So, using my debit/credit card, I punched in all of the necessary numbers. I was handed my receipt and my bag with both CDs and off I go.

But wait! My receipt said $51. How can that be? It seems the person at the checkout counter, while I was punching in my numbers, sneakily scanned something else which was now on my receipt. It was probably something for herself that she would take home later if I just stuffed the receipt in my pocket without looking. But I caught the scam.

I got a supervisor to come over and, to make a long story short, I was given the difference in cash. She said she couldn't adjust the mistake with the card. Why does this bother me? Because about 2 months ago I was told someone in Missouri had a duplicate card as mine and charged $300 at Walmart to my account. My bank then called me and asked me if I was in Missouri and I told them no, that I haven't taken any trips. They said that they didn't think so and denied the purchase.

So, just be alert and examine your receipts right on the spot. There are a lot of scammers out there. And one other thing, stay away from any department stores beginning with "W" and ending in "T". Enter at your own risk!!"
:-? :-B

Here are some comments on the site gather.com about this article that we can also learn from: :-? :-B


"Spencer T. May 17, 2010, 2:43pm EDT

Yes, I was almost caught with a similar situation about a year ago. The total on the screen was $37. 75. By the time I got my password entered and looked at my receipt it was $47. 75. I never left the check out spot and asked the cashier to refund my money but had to call the super who gave me the $10.00.


Debra H. May 21, 2010, 11:55am EDT

Here's another scam they like to pull - I used my card and it rang up a $80 cash back and while management admitted it was the machines error they would not put the money back on my card that I HAD to take cash. I told them I kept that account intentionally low and it would cause overdraft fees which I have never had and get special bank incentives for. Plus it was 8 p.m.

Still they refused so I took the cash and went to an ATM nearby that was not well lit because Walmart preferred to put my safety at risk then I went home and called my bank, who are great at taking care of things on their end and told me there would be no overdraft charge.

The next morning I called Wal-mart corporate office and chewed someones face off and asked for their legal department. Wal-mart settled for punitive damages of $550 for putting my personal safety at risk, stealing my money because that's exactly what it is even if the machine malfunctions and they refuse to put it back and I got to talk to the CEO who promised me that the Crap Rolls Downhill Theory would be employed right down to the manager who refused to put it back.


Heather C. Jun 2, 2010, 1:58pm EDT

On a Friday night we used our bank account card to pay for an over $100 purchase and Walmart said the charge was refused, so we put it instead on a credit card... Imagine my surprise when I got home and saw the money gone from my bank account.... Yes though they told me the bank refused to cover it, which I thought was strange, it had. So I called up my bank Monday morning and they immediately took care of it. Imagine if I didn't watch my checking account like a hawk? Thinking the money was still there I might have bounced the account..."
:-? :-B
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Re: Shopping Scams: Online and Offline

Post by TheTruthTeller » Sat Jun 02, 2012 4:11 am

Here is a clear online shopping scam spam that deals with Walmart Gift Cards. This one asks you to confirm your E-mail address. It is really a form of E-mail verification scamming where the sender of this E-mail wants you to confirm or verify your E-mail address so that they can send your E-mail to other spammers who are just like them. Plus this Spam E-mail is a complete Lie because in reality you have never really won anything: :-? :ymsick:

From: Congratulations! <EliteBuy@a004.bestfilesfree.com>
To: XXXX
Sent: Friday, June 1, 2012 5:25 PM
Subject: Walmart Gift Card for XXXX
Congratulations!

You have qualified for today's

Grand Prize Drawing: $1000.00 Walmart Gift Card!!

Click Here and verify your email address

for your chance to win!

To unsubscribe from this mailing list: click here

EliteBuy-ADVERTISEMENT
1490 W. 121st Ave #201
Westminster, Colorado 80234
:-? :-B

More shall be posted later on about Fake Walmart Gift Cards which are indeed linked to scam activity. :-? :-B
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Re: Shopping Scams: Online and Offline

Post by TheTruthTeller » Sat Jun 02, 2012 4:17 am

Here is an interesting article from the site known as kveo.com about Walmart Gift Cards that involves a text message: :-? :-B

"Text message scam promises $1000 Walmart gift card

POSTED: Sunday, April 29, 2012 - 10:26
UPDATED: Friday, May 25, 2012 - 08:04

NATIONAL - For Walmart shoppers, it appears to be a text message from heaven. "You have been selected for a $1,000 Walmart gift card. ENTER CODE: 'FREE' "

Regulars know that on receipts, Walmart asks shoppers to fill out a survey for a chance to win a thousand dollar gift card. What's more, this text message gives a Webs address with Walmart.com in it along with some additional letters. Similar offers appear in text messages from other cell numbers and referring you to diff rent websites but not Walmartstores.com the company's true web address. It's the latest wave of a barrage that last month prompted Walmart to denounce the text messages as "SCAMS" calling them "SMISHING", the texting version of phishing. So who is behind the text messages, and what do they want? Clicking on one of the texted links took us to the Website of MyMaxSavingsClub.com, which requested some personal information, including birth date, email address, and phone number, as well as some marketing survey questions. Then it gave an 800 number to call for an "Authentication Code" to claim the gift. He said, no, he just works at the call center in Deerfield, Florida, but would pass on my information. Turns out the Web name MyMaxSavingsClub.com is registered through a web security company that shields the identity of the owner."
:-? :-B
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Re: Shopping Scams: Online and Offline

Post by TheTruthTeller » Sat Jun 02, 2012 4:22 am

Here is more information about the Walmart Gift Card Scam in text message form from the site known as abclocal.go.com: :-? :-B

"Don't fall for Walmart gift card text scam
Friday, May 04, 2012

Jeff Ehling

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- You may have gotten this message on your cell phone more than once -- 'You just won a free Walmart gift card.' But Walmart is flat out calling it a scam.

A $1,000 Walmart gift card can go a long way for a family, and if you have a cell phone it may appear you have one waiting for you. But the company says don't believe it.

The text message sounds promising -- a $1,000 Walmart gift card is yours. Cody Boyd has seen more than one such offer on her phone.

"I won a $5,000 gift card or $10,000 gift card," she said.

Same thing with Carol Mbaraka.

"If you text back, you get $50 back," she said.

The text messages make it seem like the card is yours, but there are several steps consumers have to take first.

Monica Russo with the Houston Better Business Bureau logged on to several websites pushed by the text messages. Russo found she first had to enter in her name and address and email, then answer a quick survey and then sign up for at least four trial offers in order to be eligible for the gift card. Those trial offers typically start charging consumers after 30 days unless canceled after the trial period.

"It looks like it is very difficult to redeem this card," Russo said. "There are a lot of terms and conditions that most people will not meet. In addition to that, it looks like you have to purchase several different offers."

Walmart has weighed in on the text message notifications, saying on its website, "These text messages and the sites being used are not from Walmart and Walmart is not associated with parties promoting this activity."

The company has asked the Federal Trade Commission to block the text messages, but finding the senders has been difficult.

Russo explained, "They are registered under a domain by proxy, which means they are anonymous and you do not know who the site is owned by and who it is run by."

The BBB and Walmart says the best advice is to delete the messages. Walmart has asked the FTC to look into the matter and would issue a cease and desist order if the company behind the messages could be found."
:-? :-B
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Re: Shopping Scams: Online and Offline

Post by TheTruthTeller » Sat Jun 02, 2012 4:29 am

Here again is more information about this Walmart Gift Card (text message) Scam from the site known as forbes.com: :-? :-B

"John Wasik, Contributor
4/30/2012

Dang! Walmart Not Giving Away Gift Certificates

I consistently get obnoxious unsolicited text messages on my smartphone. Only today did I discover there’s a word for them: “Smishing.”

They always say I won something like an iPad or lottery. I ignore the lion’s share of them. Lately though, they’ve been telling me I’ve won a Walmart gift card.

What they aren’t telling me is that I lose if I give them personal information to “collect ” the bogus card. Walmart may have been giving away lots of other things in Mexico in an alleged bribery scandal, but it’s not giving away gift certificates through text messages. Note: The company said it has launched an “aggressive investigation” into the Mexican affair and continues to cooperate with federal officials.

Smishing is an identity theft scam similar to “ phishing,” its nefarious cousin that works through email messages. If you are unfortunate enough to send along your Social Security number, credit card and banking account numbers, then the brigands at the other end will make money by either selling your personal data or rip you off directly.

Here’s what Walmart said in a recent fraud alert:

“There has been a sudden increase in scam text messages referring people to a site where they can `claim a Walmart Gift Card’ by entering certain private personal information. These attacks that take place through SMS text message technologies to personal mobile phones are scams and are in no way sponsored by or affiliated with Walmart.

This type of scam has come to be known as Smishing because of the use of SMS text technology. Similar to the way scam web sites send “Phishing” emails, scam artists have been sending text messages offering free Walmart gift cards to consumers in exchange for entering information on a mobile website. The most popular website being used recently is called `walmartgift.mobi.’ This site is not owned, operated by, or affiliated with Walmart. Any site can be used for this scam and users are often asked for private personal information including credit card numbers or social security numbers. Providing this type of information is very likely to lead to identity theft or credit card fraud. ”

Apparently, Walmart isn’t the only retailer used in smishing scams. It’s spread to Best Buy, according to scambook.com:

“Considering the amount of complaints we received in a matter of weeks about Walmart last month, Scambook had to alert its users on this new Best Buy smishing scam. I noticed that it is easy for anyone to fall into handing over their personal information through the process of redeeming their “Free $1,000 Best Buy Gift Card.”

...The antidote for these traps is the same as for kids offered illicit drugs: Just say no. Don’t even open the messages. They may be as friendly as a Walmart greeter, but your financial

basket will be emptied pretty quickly by these larcenous merchants if you walk in their door."
:-? :-B
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Re: Shopping Scams: Online and Offline

Post by TheTruthTeller » Sun Jun 03, 2012 7:22 am

On Walmart's own site walmartstores.com there are several scams that the site lists that will be posted here. Although these scams deal with Walmart they can also be applied to other places as well and it is good to take note of them: :-? :-B

"Be Aware of "Urban Legend" Emails

December 12, 2011 -- There are many “urban legends” that circulate through our email inboxes every day, warning consumers to take certain precautions against inflated or false dangers. While we always urge consumers to use caution when transacting business with anyone, we also urge consumers to educate themselves on the validity of rumors that are circulated via email. Retail related rumors that have turned into urban legends include items such as consumers needing to press the “clear” button at a gas pump at the completion of their purchase to prevent the next customer from using their card and store employees adding on “cash back” amounts without the customer’s permission. In both of these cases legitimate retailers ensure their systems are built with controls to prevent these risks from occurring.

While there are real protections that consumers should be familiar with such as looking for skimming devices on gas pumps or ATMs and checking their receipts to ensure their purchases and cash back are appropriate, “urban legends” create undue fear and distrust. “Urban Legend” emails have also been used as a ruse to get consumers to load malware or viruses or to give up personal information. Most “urban legends” will sound plausible on the first read and probably started with some seed of truth. As with any rumor they become broader and more general over time and paint the subject of the rumor in the worst light possible.

Before believing what someone forwards in an email, always check the facts to ensure the information is correct. There are several Internet sites available that dedicate resources to researching and debunking “urban legends”. You can find good sites by simply using your favorite Internet search site to look for “urban legend debunk sites”.
:-? :-B
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Re: Shopping Scams: Online and Offline

Post by TheTruthTeller » Sun Jun 03, 2012 7:24 am

Here is another version of the Walmart Gift Card scam that is spoken about on walmartstores.com: :-? :-B

Facebook Walmart Gift Card Scam

November 15, 2011. There has been a recent increase in the number of offers for “free” Walmart gift cards on Facebook. These offers are not associated with Walmart. Walmart does not offer gift cards as prizes on Facebook or other social networking sites. These offers are frequently part of a scam and may contain malware or use your information on Facebook for marketing purposes.

Signs of fraud:

Poor grammar
Poor spelling
Outdated logos or branding
“Fine Print.” If you scroll down on the page, there is often fine print disclosing that the offer is not associated with the brand listed.

If you received a strange Facebook Wall (timeline) post or message from a friend asking you to click a link, or if links that you didn't send were sent out from your account, Facebook will allow you to report the link.
:-? :-B
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Re: Shopping Scams: Online and Offline

Post by TheTruthTeller » Sun Jun 03, 2012 7:30 am

Here is another scam found on walmartstores.com that the site talks about: :-? :-B

Twitter SPAM

March 26, 2012 – In the last few days, we have seen an increase in SPAM messaging sent from Twitter by @depwalmart and @market_walmart, as well as other accounts. Some of these messages include links to “gift card sites” or other questionable content, or ask users to check a link in Twitter profiles in order to get a gift card.

Walmart is not associated with these messages and is working with Twitter to block these accounts.

Walmart does offer a survey, which is advertised on random receipts in our stores. Walmart does award five (5) gift cards every three months to winners of our survey sweepstakes. However, these winners are notified via certified mail and a phone call after the winning drawing occurs. Gift cards are not given away through Twitter.

Official Walmart Twitter accounts and associates are listed here XXXX. If an account is not on this list, the user is not official and not speaking on behalf of the company.
:-? :-B
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Re: Shopping Scams: Online and Offline

Post by TheTruthTeller » Sun Jun 03, 2012 7:33 am

Again here is another scam that the same site walmartstores.com talks about: :-? :-B

"Walmart Personal Assistant Shopper Scam

Similar to a “Mystery Shopper Scam”, these communications are associated with the application for a position of a “Personal Assistant”, with e-mails often claiming to need help investigating a range of issues affecting the company. These communications ask people to confirm prices for products, to examine condition of the store, and to check the professionalism of the customer service in each department as well as the store as a whole.

This mystery shopper scam uses fraudulent offers, fake checks and wire transfers to persuade unsuspecting consumers into sending money to fraudsters who are often located outside the U.S. Fraudsters are sending fraudulent solicitations via mail, print, text, and e-mail to entice consumers to evaluate the retail experience, products and services at stores, including Walmart."
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Re: Shopping Scams: Online and Offline

Post by TheTruthTeller » Sun Jun 03, 2012 7:38 am

Here is another version of the Walmart Gift Card Scam but this time it is tied to a Survey Scam as spoken of on walmartstores.com: :-? :-B

"Fraudulent Walmart Gift Card/Survey Email Scam

December 7, 2010 - A popular phishing scam that fraudulently uses the Walmart brand has recently been re-circulated.

The subject line of this spam email often reads “You have been selected.”

The body states that “You have been selected to access the Wachovia 2 Step Survey and win a $150 gift certificate."

The email links to a website that looks like a Walmart survey site that offers consumers an “opportunity.” Consumers are asked to enter personal data, including:

Name
Phone number
E-mail
Bank account and/or credit card information

There are a number of versions of these survey-related phishing emails and fraudulent survey websites, and the dollar amounts and layouts of the webpage vary.

Information Walmart will not ask by email :-? :-B

Walmart will never ask you to email personal information such as:

Passwords
Social security number
Bank account details
Credit card numbers
Other financial information

Walmart will not make unsolicited calls asking for such information. However, for fraud prevention purposes, Walmart may ask for you to verify personal information such as address or telephone number, which you have previously provided."
:-? :-B
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Re: Shopping Scams: Online and Offline

Post by TheTruthTeller » Sun Jun 03, 2012 7:43 am

Here again is another scam mentioned on the same site walmartstores.com and I quote: :-? :-B

"Walmart Foundation Fraudulent Check Scam

April 14, 2010 - The Walmart Foundation has become aware of a scam involving consumers receiving an e-mail, letter or fax. These notifications tell consumers that they have won money as a result of a "consumer promotion drawing." The notification includes a forged check from the Walmart Foundation.

Victims of the scam who attempt to cash these checks may end up receiving bank penalties as a result of the fact that the checks will not be successfully processed by their bank. If you or someone you know has received such a communication, please be advised this is not a legitimate Foundation program and do NOT attempt to cash the forged check.

....If you suspect you have received a fraudulent e-mail claiming to be from Walmart, please forward the e-mail directly to Walmart at abuse@walmart.com. For investigatory purposes, please do not: cut and paste the e-mail; change the subject line and e-mail it to us; or send it as an attachment.

If you were a victim of fraud via the Internet, you should file a report with your local law enforcement along with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (ICCC). The ICCC is a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center..."
:-? :-B
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Re: Shopping Scams: Online and Offline

Post by TheTruthTeller » Sun Jun 03, 2012 7:48 am

Again another scam that fraudsters are using found on the same site again walmartstores.com. This is the E-mail verification scamming that was earlier spoken about: :-? :-B

"Walmart "Returned Wal-Mart card" Spam e-mail

January 27, 2010 -- Fraudsters recently sent a spam e-mail purporting to be from Walmart with the subject line “Returned Wal-Mart card.” This e-mail is not associated with Walmart or the company we partner with on our credit cards offerings.

The body of this spam e-mail typically has the following text:

“We have been notified that your Wal-Mart card has been returned to our offices. There must be an address discrepancy in the information we have on file. Please go to the link and verify that we have your correct address. Once you've confirmed, we expect your card to be sent out shortly."

ADDRESS CONFIRMATION

The “ADDRESS CONFIRMATION” text in the e-mail links to a website that abuses the Walmart brand and is part of a common fraudulent scheme called the “Gift Card Sponsor Offer Scam.” Do NOT enter your e-mail on this webpage...

Please rest assured that Walmart does not sell or rent your personal information to third parties, and we are doing our best to protect you from e-mail forgery attempts like this one...

If you feel that you have been defrauded, you may want to contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at http://www.ftc.gov or at 1-877-FTC-HELP or the Consumer Fraud Division of your state's Attorney General's office."
:-? :-B
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Re: Shopping Scams: Online and Offline

Post by TheTruthTeller » Sun Jun 03, 2012 7:55 am

The site walmartstores.com also speaks of yet another scam that is found below: :-? :-B

"Walmart Rebranding Mystery Shopper Scam

January 20, 2010 - Fraudsters are sending fraudulent solicitations via mail, print, text, and e-mail to entice consumers to evaluate the retail experience, products and services at stores, including Walmart.

This mystery shopper scam uses fraudulent offers, fake checks and wire transfers to persuade unsuspecting consumers into sending money to fraudsters who are often located outside the U.S.

These communications are associated with the fictional “Wal-Mart Rebranding” department, with e-mails often coming from rebrandingmanager@walmartrecruiting.com.

These communications ask consumers to assist with Walmart’s re-branding efforts through mystery shopping and evaluation of MoneyGram services and often lead to consumer financial loss or identity theft."
:-? :-B
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