About a month ago, I won a $100 Walmart gift card at work. It had something to do with my stats from the month before. Everyone who had stats under a certain threshold was eligible for a gift card raffle. Being the winner that I am, I was one of the lucky recipients of a Walmart $100 gift card.
Yes, lucky me.
On November 2, I went on to Walmart.com and applied the gift card to my account. I decided I would use it to buy a new cordless drill. I meant to purchase it immediately after adding the $100 gift card to my account, but I got busy with other things and didn’t have the time to order the drill just then.
That was a huge mistake.
That night, I tried to log into Walmart.com and make the buy. I couldn’t log in. I wouldn’t accept my password. It was the same password that I’ve always used with Walmart.com. I tried the “Forgot Password” link, but when I entered my email address, it said that email address didn’t exist in the system.
I then went through my emails for the day and found one from Walmart.com. They wanted to let me know that the request to change my name, email address, and password was complete. Huh? I never asked them to change any of those things.
I called the phone number in the email and spoke to a representative. According to him, someone had gone into my account, changed all my account info, and then ordered something using my $100 gift card. That something was another $100 gift card. According to the rep, this triggered a Walmart.com security flag, and because of this, they blocked the $100 gift card purchase. The rep told me that I needed to call their gift card department. They had already closed for the day, so I needed to call back during business hours.
He gave me a reference number to use when I called back, 151102-033570.
I asked for the email address, name, and any other information my account was currently showing. He said he couldn’t tell me. Evidently their security protocols don’t allow people who’ve had their account hijacked to know who did the hijacking.
The next day, I called the gift card department on my lunch break. After being put on hold numerous times, the rep shared with me it turns out they blocked nothing. The $100 gift card purchase for another $100 gift card didn’t trip any security flags. The bogus purchase was allowed to go right through.
I asked about my gift card, specifically, how would I get the $100 balance back.
He told me I would need to contact my financial institution and file a chargeback on the original purchase of the gift card. I told him I didn’t buy the gift card. My employer gave it to me. It was a gift. He stuck to the script. He said I would still need to contact my bank and file a chargeback.
I called Walmart.com again that night. This rep also urged me to file a chargeback with my bank. I explained to her that I didn’t buy the gift card, my employer gave it to me. She put me on hold many times. The final hold was over twenty minutes. Another representative then came on the line. She claimed not to know that I was on hold, but she asked how she could help me.
Even though I had a reference number, I explained the problem. She said that she could credit me the $100 gift card balance because it was obvious someone compromised my account and used my gift card fraudulently. Because they had already marked my account for deletion, she couldn’t credit that account. I asked her what my account currently showed for an email address. I didn’t think she would tell me, but I figured it was worth a shot. She surprised me by giving me the email address:
She said I would need another Walmart.com account. I asked if she could credit it to my wife’s account. She said she could, so I gave her my wife’s email address that’s connected to her Walmart.com account. She said it could take up to 24 hours for the credit to show up.
It never showed up.
I called two days later. I spoke to yet another rep who, although I provided my reference number, needed me to explain everything from the beginning. She told me the rep I talked to before, the same one who said she would send my wife a $100 gift card, canceled the request because she noticed they already sent a $100 gift card to me on November 2.
That’s the $100 gift card the hijacker bought with my $100 gift card. They sent the new gift card to email@example.com, the email address used by the thief.
That email doesn’t exist anymore. It was a burner email address the thief deleted, probably right after getting the new $100 gift card.
She told me that she would send a new $100 gift card, but it would take up to 48 hours.
Those 48 hours have gone by, and guess what? I didn’t get the new $100 gift card.
I give up. Walmart.com wins, I lose. Technically, I didn’t pay anything for the gift card. My employer gave it to me for doing something good. Technically, I’m not out any actual money. I’ve already spent too much time getting lied to on the phone.
It would be pointless to call them. They would only lie to me again. That’s what they do. They are Walmart. They guarantee your satisfaction. That’s a lie because I’m far from being satisfied.
In retrospect, I think it was an inside job. How would some random hacker know that I had just loaded my $100 gift card on to my Walmart.com account? They would have to have access to my Walmart.com account and check every hour or so to see if I loaded a gift card to my account, something I’ve never done.
One of the reps told me I needed to change the password to my email account because whoever hijacked my Walmart.com account had to have sent the change request from my email account.
I use Gmail for my email. You can see the devices and locations used when accessing your Gmail account by going to the bottom-right of any Gmail screen and clicking Details. It shows all activity on your account. I did this when I first learned someone had jacked my Walmart.com account, and there was nothing abnormal.
Whoever hijacked my Walmart.com account didn’t use my email account. They did it by some other method. Most likely, they were someone who works for Walmart.com. Who else would know that I had just loaded a $100 gift card on to my account?
Nobody, that’s who. It was either a Walmart.com employee or an evil wizard.
I blame Walmart. They must have crappy cyber security systems in place. They have my name, my address, my phone number, and loads of other information about me. They apparently don’t check IP addresses, or they would see that someone from an IP address I’ve never used before logged into my account changed all my information, then used my $100 gift card to buy another $100 gift card. Did they honestly think I changed my name to Evelyn Hays?
Bottom line, I don’t think Walmart cares. I won’t be able to use the $100 gift card, but someone else will. They aren’t out anything. I told them I couldn’t file a chargeback with my bank because I didn’t buy the gift card, so they know there’s nothing I can do.
Walmart allowed someone, probably one of their employees, to steal $100 from me. I’ll remember this fact the next time I read about them killing a shoplifter.
Walmart sucks, and I hate them. I’m expanding my hate list.
Before this experience, I only hated Jimmy Buffett, al Qaeda, and a guy I used to work with we all called The Captain because his stupid hipster facial hair made him look like a retarded version of Captain Morgan.
Congratulations Walmart. Once you go on my hate list, there’s no getting off. The Captain moved to New York some time ago and I still hate him just as much as I did the day he left Hagerstown, or as he referred to it as, upstate Maryland.