Off Topic

Walmart, You are Killing Me!

By Ron Pereira Updated on January 13th, 2011

Walmart Credit Card FraudSo check it out. A few months ago my wife noticed some suspicious charges on our Washington Mutual debit card at a Walmart in the Fort Worth area.

After discussing it we realized someone had swiped our information and made two separate charges for around $300 total.

We called Washington Mutual and suspended our card. We then had to basically change ALL our accounts since we were given a new number. Since we pay all our bills online this was a supreme pain in the rear.


We felt violated and honestly a little freaked out since someone went to a lot of trouble to rip us off. My fear was it would happen again.

It did.

Walmart Fails Again

This time someone ripped off my corporate credit card number and attempted to buy a pizza in California for $5.00. The pizza company, to their credit, must have done their job and didn’t allow the transaction to go through.

But not Walmart. They failed again as the same person in California charged something for $150.

Check ID!

The process that should be followed is pretty easy. The Walmart cashier should ask the customer for a picture ID if a credit card is being used. If they don’t have one the customer can’t use the card. Simple as that.

Help Protect Me (and Yourself)

Over the past year or so we’ve build a decent following here on LSS Academy. So, while I’ve never done this before, I am going to request a ‘call to action’ for all LSS Academy readers.

The next time you are in Walmart, if you don’t mind, please try to pay with a credit card (not debit). Then, if the cashier doesn’t ask you for your ID kindly ask them why they didn’t.

Several thousand people read LSS Academy daily so if we all do this who knows… perhaps we can make a positive change to Walmart’s “Standard Work.”

Have you Ever Been Ripped Off?

Have you ever been ripped off like this? If so, what did you do to prevent it from happening again?

  1. Jason

    August 18, 2008 - 8:41 am

    Ron –

    That’s actually against the Terms and Condition’s of Visa/Mastercard’s merchant agreement. They don’t want paying with a credit to to be any more of a hassle than using cash, which it would be if I had to produce a license in every circumstance.

    You’re a lean fan, right? Wouldn’t it be a lot of non-value added activity for me to produce an ID each time I swap my card? They have sophisticated systems for identifying fraud and stopping cards, along with no liability for the cardholder. I’d rather keep the status quo and have a risk of a minor inconvenience.

    On another note, never use debit cards. They have the same guarantees, but the problem is, it comes out of your bank account immediately, rather than out of a “credit” account. Stick with the credit card!

  2. Steve

    August 18, 2008 - 11:32 am

    Jason – I totally disagree with you. I am more than happy to show my ID each time I use my credit card. From a TPS perspective I already have my wallet out and accessing my license is easy (a few seconds cycle time). This is a lot easier than having to cancel all auto bill payments, etc (hours of cycle time). I assume you’ve never been impacted by identity theft?

    • Paul

      September 14, 2011 - 1:54 pm


      What Jason is saying is that it is against the rules of using the card established by the credit card companies. Wal-Mart is not the problem here, it is the card company that dictates the guidelines for companies to be able to take that card. I appreciate when a company asks to see a card, but I know that many times they simply are not allowed to because of the demands of Visa and Mastercard demanding it not be done!

  3. Sean

    August 19, 2008 - 8:31 am

    Another way to do this is not sign the back with a signature but use a permanent marker and write request photo ID.

    Technically no signature requires an ID right away, but someone could sign for you, but if you put request photo ID in permanent marker on back forces clerk to ask for one.

    Simple way to help prevent fraud and yes it is a heck of a lot easier to show your ID especially with most wallets today than it is to recover your stolen credit cards and charges made.

  4. Chris

    August 19, 2008 - 8:42 am

    Ron –

    What you need to do is what we (Britian) are doing. With have some called chip and pin. All credit cards and debit cards in the UK have a chip inserted into the card and whenever you make a payment you have to insert a unique 4 digit Pin code to authorise the payment. From a lean point of view, you don’t have to carry any additional ID and you can input the unique 4 digit pin code as quick as you can sign. Also, if someone steals your card, if they don’t have the Pin number, they cannot use the card (a form of poke yoke)

    The delta side of this is the initial set up cost. But at the end of the day, are the savings worth it. I think so.

  5. Byron

    August 19, 2008 - 9:26 am

    Most all retail establishments have a PIN pad at the check out line, including the Wal-Mart I sometimes frequent. All the more reason TO use a debit card.

  6. Percy Mansfield

    August 19, 2008 - 9:35 am

    Ron, I agree completely!

    A suggestion for all your LSS readers (or anyone for that matter) is to write “SEE ID” in the signature block on the back of your card. I did this after having a similar experience to yours in 2001 that pulled over $700 out of my bank account, which took several months to resolve. Always use a credit card instead of debit! You are much better protected, and your money isn’t missing while you are disputing the charges!

    This “SEE ID” trick is by no means a failsafe though. Over the past 7 years that I have had this on all of my cards, I have only seen 3-5% of the cashiers ask for ID. It is so infrequent that I thank them and ask why they checked. In almost all cases, they too were ripped off, and that is why they take the extra second to actually ask for photo ID.

    From the LSS perspective on this problem, we must differentiate between a lean process with only Value Added steps, and a minimalist process that doesn’t meet customer expectations. For me, and anyone else who has experienced this pain, the extra step of the cashier asking for a photo ID *IS* a Value Added step! I’ve requested it in writing on the back of my card, and I’m quite dissatisfied the 95-98% of the time that they either don’t look, or look but don’t ask to see my ID! For anyone who has not yet been ripped off, they have a basic need for safety and security, it’s just that they aren’t thinking to express that need since they have not yet experienced the hassle of a defect in this process!

    Keep up the good work! I love reading your updates.

  7. Ron Pereira

    August 19, 2008 - 10:14 am

    Thanks for all the great tips and advice everyone! I really appreciate it. All the best everyone.

  8. Brian Campbell

    August 19, 2008 - 1:09 pm

    For most my purchases by credit card in U.S. stores, the cashier never touches your card — you just swipe it through the checkout reader. This new process seems “fast and loose”, since a thief would just swipe your stolen credit card (or swipe a duplicate card he made from your 16-digit acct number). I wish cashiers would ask for one’s ID all the time, regardless of whether reverse of credit card is signed.

  9. andrewmc

    August 20, 2008 - 3:38 am

    I doubt that I have signed a credit card or debit card slip more than 10 times in the last three years in the UK. We have used chip and pin on both CC and DC’s for years now and for some purchases under the value of $30 even the pin is no longer required.

    In order for someone to purchase something with my cards, they would need my card number, the last three digits off the back and either my PIN number for in store purchases or my pass word for Visa / mastercard ID confirmation online.

    With the new swipe only cards, all one does in a store is swipe the card and leave, no signature, pin number, just swipe and go. These cards are set up so that at random intervals the vendor will request a PIN number but most of the time you will just swipe and go. The losses are limited to less than $30 at a time and the Card companies continue to monitor for unusual purchasing activity.

    I would never, ever want to waste my time producing ID for my card. I can Stop and transfer every single direct debit from one bank account to a new bank with a single phone call where the bank does all the work for me. I do not need to call all the companies with which I have financial relationships to inform them of a new card, the new bank does this on my behalf.

    The idea that we should produce ID in CASE something MIGHT happen at some time in the future is an enormous waste of time and effort in my opinion.

    I have to be honest and say that your banking system does not seem to have progressed much at all since I lived there in 03 if you still have to sign for purchases. There are far more secure means of conducting transactions than the use of a signature and ID.

  10. Mark Graban

    August 20, 2008 - 4:38 am

    Ron – I think your beef is less with WalMart and more with the credit card system in general. I had my credit card # “nicked” somehow in the UK. It could have been stolen at a point of sale (where I wasn’t able to use their chip and PIN system with a U.S. card) or it was me being sloppy and entering my number onto a webpage on an unsecured wireless network.

  11. Ron Pereira

    August 20, 2008 - 6:40 am

    Hi Mark, you may be right.

    However, the fact is just about anyone can buy just about anything with just about any credit card in the US… we live in a “have card, buy stuff” country. Stores such as Walmart could help this issue in the US by simply asking for an ID when credit is being used.

    And as many of our UK friends have commented above… we seem to be behind the curve as it relates to things like this.

  12. Stacy Eubanks

    August 25, 2008 - 1:19 pm

    Sometime in 2003, someone out of Texas stole my identity. The only reason I knew my identity had been stolen was because I attempted to refinance my house for a lower rate and was denied. Boy was I shocked. It took weeks to clear this up. No one seemed to care. Everyone kept telling me how ‘common’ it is. Why is it so common? Check an I.D. I can’t tell you how many times I have asked the cashier to check my I.D. It is hit or miss. Now I need to pay $17 a month to prevent this from happening again. Ridiculous!

  13. Yvonne

    September 3, 2008 - 3:36 pm

    OMG, okay last night I was checking my account online and discover a $500 debit at Walmart, I immediately called my bank and they told me it was a charge in Cummings Georgia. I told them we live in WA not Georgia how did this happen since my husband had his card. The explained that there was an alert, however it was after the transaction. So I called the Walmart equip with all the info, a wonder CRS help me out. They found the transaction and get this before they used my card the thief tried 2 others and they did not go through then he tried a 3rd time and it worked. So Walmart looked up the purchase and found the culprit had purchased a gift card, so they cashed it out and will be sending me a money-order. I’m trying to get copies of the receipts, however I’m doubtful they will give them to me because this was a royal screw-up. Oh by the way my bank is WAMU too!

    • Paul

      September 14, 2011 - 2:00 pm


      You are correct, you cannot get a copy of that receipt due to legal reasons. However, you can see this information indirectly. The proper (and legal for retailers) steps are to call the police department in the city where the card went through at. File a complaint against the person that used the card. Wal-Mart will give them all the information needed to catch the person that did it…including any video footage and photos obtained by the camera system. Each store it was attempted and used at will have to do this individually…but they are more than happy to do this. It keeps Wal-Mart tail covered and you will find the information your wanting.

  14. Ron

    September 12, 2008 - 2:01 pm

    In the early 1990’s, I lost my Drivers’ license and somebody found it. They took my Oklahoma license to Arizona, and used it to apply for a new license there. Then they used that license to get a copy of my Social Security card. At that time (changed since), the DL number was your SS number, so that was no problem for him. He was a wanted criminal in Oklahoma, and as a result, I had the OSBI, FBI, Sheriff’s Department, local police and the IRS after me before long. The OSBI had him under observation when they visited me, so they knew there were two people in the mix. I managed to clear myself, but the story did not end there. As a matter of fact, it haunted me for ten years. Why? Because of multiple mistakes by multiple departments.

    1. Oklahoma decided NOT to extradite him – too costly!
    2. Arizona had not notified Oklahoma that my DL was used to get an Arizona DL, and/or Oklahoma did nothing with that info.
    3. The Social Security office used only DL information to issue a duplicate SS card – despite the fact that I had applied for a duplicate less than one year earlier.

    Any of these things should have thrown up red flags – but that did not happen. About 9 years ago, I found out that the SS Administration had me down as DEAD. I guess the guy finally died and his widow applied for benefits! Again, I got it straightened out. But what a mess!

    After 9/11, some of these problems have been addressed, but I’ll bet that this will still happen to thousands of people. Mistakes and oversights will always get in the way. All of this is preventable with common sense procedures.

  15. becky

    March 14, 2010 - 4:07 pm

    I had a charge of $141.68 on my debit card at walmart that I did not do, some how an employee was able to make it look like the card was swiped so wells fargo would not investigate, mainly tho the police said wells fargo does not care until around $10,000 is lost. the police don’t have the man power to look at tapes and walmart would not look or let me look so it all took too loog to really look into it and the tapes were erased. that was a lot of money for me to loose. but it was to little to be bothered about by anyone of authority. walmart needs to watch there employees better for the fraud they coment every day. banks need to care more for the little amounts that do add up. I wish someone would have cared enough about me to help.

    • Paul

      September 14, 2011 - 2:06 pm


      Wal-Mart is not allowed by attorneys to show video to customers or in your case, victims. However, the police CAN request the information and Wal-Mart will give them all the photos and videos available. The problem with this is that older Wal-Mart stores may have the old VHS video system. These tapes are usually recorded over after two months. I last used a vhs system about three years ago. Many stores are being switched to digital video when that store remodels. The banks don’t usually want to flag a card for lower amounts of money. They say it costs too much. The police do not have to look at the tape…Wal-Mart will want to do that, but they need a reason to do it before the video documentation still is available. I don’t care what the police say…it is their job to look into this. I agree there are more important crimes…but sooner or later they will have time and need to react.

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