SACRAMENTO, Calif. — At ABC10, 'We Stand for You,' so when an Elk Grove woman told us she thought she was the target of a scam targeting Walmart shoppers, we looked into it. What we found could protect you and your wallet.
“The check looked super real,” said Bianca Baluyut as she showed the fake check.
Baluyut received an envelope via UPS-certified mail. In it were a check and secret shopper instructions for her next trip to Walmart.
“It looks very real and I kind of thought like, wow, why me? You know, this is a lot of money, it is for $3,345. That's a pretty big win just to go shop at Walmart," said Baluyut.
She was instructed to deposit the money in her bank then go to Walmart and take out three money orders and grade the Walmart employee on specific criteria. It was the word 'money orders' that triggered alarm bells for her.
The next day, a person claiming to be a Walmart associate contacted her on her cell phone.
"I'm thinking... Walmart has my information. I do grocery pickups, maybe it really is from them," recalled Baluyut.
ABC10 contacted Walmart to notify them of the scam. A Walmart spokesperson provided us with this statement:
“Unfortunately, bad actors occasionally take advantage of Walmart’s reputation to carry out these kinds of scams. Walmart never solicits mystery or secret shoppers via email, mail or any other public means.”
ABC10 followed up that call to Walmart with a call to Elk Grove police. Officers said if you receive something that seems too good to be true, it likely is. So when you get something like Bianca did, throw it in the trash.
If Bianca fell for the scam, she would have been out $3,000. It would have taken a few days for the check to come back fraudulent and by then the money would have already been lost.
She is warning you to watch out for these sophisticated tactics.
“The person watching ABC10 will go, 'Oh my gosh, I got that same letter and thank goodness I didn't deposit it or I was thinking about depositing it. And now I won't,'" said Baluyut.
ABC10 also called and emailed the contact information on Bianca’s letter. The phone number didn’t work and ABC10 still hasn’t received a response to the email.
ABC10 did find the Wisconsin company on the check. They said their name is being hijacked. The company has reported it to its bank and insurance company but is not affiliated with Walmart in any way.
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