In recent days, a new and dangerous trick began to circulate on social networks with which fraudsters are stealing from people at supermarket self-checkout kiosks, and which should alarm the entire population. The person who reported this incident and provided supporting evidence to a local news media in Texas has requested their anonymity be respected. However, the information they shared is an essential warning that deserves attention from all of us.
The self-checkout scam took place in a Walmart location in Spring, Texas. Scams of this nature can rapidly spread, posing a significant threat to unsuspecting individuals not only in nearby areas like Longview, Tyler, and other cities, but also far and wide in the United States. The incident involved a friend of the person who posted the warning. Let’s take a closer look at this scam that is starting the alarms in the retailer stores.
The new self-checkout scam spreading in the US
The friend had visited the Walmart at 2978 and Woodlands Parkway in Spring, Texas, and opted to use a self-checkout kiosk. It was during this transaction that the friend noticed something unusual—her items were ringing up at a higher total than expected. Sensing a potential issue, she carefully examined the receipt and identified several red flags.
One particular red flag was an unidentifiable charge of $20, circled in the photo provided with the warning. The description on the receipt simply stated “debit load.” Additionally, there was a reported charge of $4.94 labeled as “Visa.” These unexpected charges raised concerns for the individual, prompting her to seek clarification from customer service.
Explanation of the self-checkout scam: How it works
Upon approaching customer service, the woman was informed that this was, in fact, a new scam circulating in the area, and she got the explanation of how it works. Perpetrators of the scam begin by initiating the purchase of a prepaid Visa card. However, they intentionally abandon the transaction, leaving an unpaid card within the system.
They patiently wait for an unsuspecting customer to commence their own checkout process, hoping that the individual remains unaware of the existing unpaid card. In the specific incident mentioned, the responsible party was reportedly still present in the store. Thanks to the surveillance footage, the authorities were able to identify and apprehend the scammer inside the Walmart.
Ensuring safety at self-checkout kiosks
To protect yourself from self-checkout scams, there are some basic yet effective precautions you gotta take when shopping at the self-checkout. As you’ve seen, these kinds of spots are the preferred by the scammers, since some people might are unsuspecting:
- Always review your receipt and verify the charges. If there’s an item you don’t have in your tote bag, don’t pay for it.
- If you notice any unfamiliar or suspicious items, contact customer service immediately.
- Be cautious of anyone loitering near the self-checkout area or exhibiting unusual behavior.
- Avoid leaving the kiosk unattended during the checkout process.
- Familiarize yourself with common scams to recognize potential warning signs.
- Stay updated on local news and alerts regarding scams in your area.