Claim: Walmart is distributing free $100 or $1,000 gift cards to users who click an online link.
[Collected via e-mail, November 2011]
$100 WalMart Voucher Christmas Giveway - Limited Time Only !!!
For a short time you can get a FREE $100 Christmas Walmart Gift Card -
Limited Time Only !!! Don't wait, this is a one time free present offered
just in time for the Holidays...
[Collected via e-mail, March 2012]
You've been chosen to win a $1000 Walmart gift Card. [link elided]
[Collected via e-mail, March 2012]
You have just won a free $1000 Walmart gift card. [link elided]
Origins: In mid-November 2011, a survey scam purporting to offer free $100 Walmart gift cards to those who followed particular links then did as told once there spread via e-mail and Facebook.
Those links led to web pages (which were not operated or sponsored by Walmart) that asked the unwary to click what appeared to be Facebook "share" buttons and post comments to the scammer's site (which was really a ruse to dupe users into spreading the scam by sharing it with all of their Facebook friends). Those who followed such instructions were then led into a set of pages prompting them to input a fair amount of personal information (including name, age, address, and phone numbers), complete a lengthy series of surveys, and finally sign up (and commit to paying) for at least two "Reward Offers" (e.g., Netflix subscriptions, credit report monitoring services, prepaid credit cards):
Pursuant to the Terms & Conditions, you are required to complete 2 of the Reward Offers from the above. You will need to meet all of the terms and conditions to qualify for the shipment of the reward. For credit card offers, you must activate your card by making a purchase, transferring a balance, or making a cash advance. For loan offers you must close and fund the loan. For home security and satellite tv offers you must have the product installed. You may not cancel your participation in more than a total of 2 Reward Offers within 30 days of any Reward Offer Sign-Up Date as outlined in the Terms & Conditions (the Cancellation Limit).
Not only that, but the fine print on the "free" gift card offer stated that by accepting its terms, the user agreed to receive telemarketing phone calls and text messages from a variety of different companies:
In March 2012 another "free Walmart gift card" scam appeared, that one spread by e-mail or cell phone text message which promised $1,000 Walmart gift cards to recipients.
It too was a fraud. Walmart posted a security alert on its web site alerting consumers that:
In the last few days 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.
These text messages and the sites being used are not from Walmart and Walmart is not associated with parties promoting this activity. Walmart will never initiate a text message where we ask for sensitive personal data like credit card information or social security numbers.
On previous occasions Walmart has addressed others scams of similar nature, including other gift card sponsor offer scams, saying of them:
Walmart does not solicit online for individuals to complete online surveys for gift cards, nor do we send unsolicited emails asking individuals to participate in our surveys.
Walmart does not endorse and is not affiliated with any "sponsor offer" related program or survey.
Walmart will never send you e-mails or surveys that are contingent on your making purchases, subscriptions, or fulfilling other financial requirements.
Drawings for the receipt survey occur four times a year. Winners of the register receipt gift card are notified by certified mail, never via email.
Other recent survey scams of similar construction include:
David Mikkelson founded snopes.com in 1994, and under his guidance the company has pioneered a number of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone, the light bulb, beer pong, and a vaccine for a disease that has not yet been discovered. He is currently seeking political asylum in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.
Thank you for writing to us! Although we receive hundreds of e-mails every day, we really and truly read them all, and your comments, suggestions, and questions are most welcome. Unfortunately, we can manage to answer only a small fraction of our incoming mail.
Our site covers many of the items currently being plopped into inboxes everywhere, so if you were writing to ask us about something you just received, our search engine can probably help you find the very article you want.
Choose a few key words from the item you're looking for and click here to go to the search engine.
(Searching on whole phrases will often fail to produce matches because the text of many items is quite variable, so picking out one or two key words is the best strategy.)
We do reserve the right to use non-confidential material sent to us via this form on our site, but only after it has been stripped of any information that might identify the sender or any other individuals not party to this communication.