Walmart Lawsuit Filed Over Drained Green Dot Gift Cards
A new class action lawsuit has been filed against Walmart. It claims that the retails giant allows scammers to steal Green Dot prepaid Visa card information. Walmart is accused of being negligent to the issue, while knowing that these cards are susceptible to fraud. This involves several prepaid Visa cards, including products through Green Dot Bank.
The plaintiff is Guillermo Espinoza, a customer who says he purchased two $500 prepaid Green Dot Visa cards in February 2019. He planned to use his gift cards to pay his rent. I guess, while earning some points in the process, or working towards a credit card bonus minimum spend requirement. The day after he purchased the Green Dot cards, Espinoza reportedly attempted to make a payment on his rent but was denied due to “insufficient funds.” He went back to the Walmart store where he purchased them and asked an associate for guidance. The employee reportedly told him to try again later in the day or the next day, “stating that she believed it may just take a few days for the cards to activate.”
He called the toll free number on the back of the cards and was told by the automated system that his cards had an available balance of $499 and $500, respectively. He attempted to use his cards again and learned that one of his cards had a posted transaction for $498.74 at a Walmart in Hemet, Calif. His other card reportedly had a “nearly identical” transaction for a $497.74 charge at the same Walmart.
Espinoza attempted to dispute the charges with Green Dot but the bank allegedly directed him towards Walmart. At Walmart, a manager told him that similar “scams” had recently occurred. Card information is apparently compromised and they’re used by scammers soon after being activated.
He was told by Walmart that they could not do anything to help him because they were “not liable for those Visa gift cards.” He was then directed back to Green Dot Bank despite having already talked to the company. Green Dot allegedly said they too were not liable for the cards and suggested that this sort of scam was common.
According to the Walmart, Green Dot class action, Espinoza was told that scammers obtain the Green Dot card information prior to genuine purchases. After customers purchase the cards, scammers reportedly attempt $1 purchases to see if the cards are activated. After the products are activated, scammers are allegedly free to spend the rest of the available balance.
Espinoza argues that Walmart and Green Dot Bank do not sufficiently protect the information on the pre-paid cards, making them susceptible to scams and fraud. Espinoza seeks to represent a Class of California consumers who purchased Green Dot Visa prepaid cards from Walmart with balances of more than $50.
We have come across gift card issues at Walmart in the past. So if you purchase your gift cards there, it’s a good idea to be extra careful. This is a very frustrating situation, where both Green Dot and Walmart claim that it is not their responsibility and you’re just supposed to take a huge loss. You can read more here about how to protect yourself, or at least minimize the chances of being scammed.