Officials from Walmart are warning customers not to fall for a new scam circulating on social media.
On Tuesday, a fake Walmart account posted a photo of five people standing in front of a group of cloth grocery bags with a caption that reads:
“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 everyone who has shared & commented by 7pm 24th March,.Each person who does this will receive one of these gift bag full of goodies and a $75 Walmart voucher.”
Customers are then asked to follow a shortened Bitly link, which can obscure the actual link. Those who click on it are taken to an unsecure website to validate their entry.
“This page is not affiliated with or endorsed by Walmart. We take any fraud impacting our customers seriously and continue to implement and improve upon measures designed to help guard against various consumer scams,” Walmart spokesperson Casey Staheli said.
Dustin Johnson, vice president of operations for the Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Greater Kansas City, said online scams have increased since the start of the pandemic.
“We always think it’s the elderly that’s the most vulnerable. Some of the most savvy, technical, educated people are still getting scammed,” Johnson said.
Johnson said the best way to avoid falling for an online scams is to double check the source of the social media post or offer.
“Hover over those emails that you get, or those coupons and just look at what the URL is.” Johnson said.
The phony Walmart Facebook page was created on March 23, and the photo was posted the next day. The official Walmart Facebook page was created in October of 2009 and has a small blue check next to the name of the page.
The fake post also featured several poorly photoshopped photos featuring the Walmart logo.
“Sometimes if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is,” Johnson said. “It’s easy for scammers to take fake logos and images off established businesses and create fake pages.”
When in doubt, Johnson recommends searching online for more information or contacting the company directly to confirm the offer is legitimate.
“If you are being asked for any credit card information, any personal information, or you have to fill out this survey and you have to send it to your friends, it’s probably a scam,” Johnson said.
If you see a business or online offer that seems fraudulent, you can report it through the BBB Scam Tracker.