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Walmart Turned Blind Eye to Money Transfer Fraud, FTC Says

The company allegedly made millions in fees as fraudsters used its money transfer services.

Walmart storefront with cars and bare tree in the foreground
Walmart's money transfer services were allegedly used for fraud.
Angus Mordant/ Bloomberg via Getty

The Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday accused Walmart of allowing its money transfer services to be used for fraud, resulting in people losing hundreds of millions of dollars. The consumer protection agency wants Walmart to return money to consumers and for a court to impose civil penalties on the retail giant.

Walmart allegedly failed to properly train its employees, didn't warn customers and used procedures that allowed fraudsters to cash out at its stores.

The retailer acts as an agent for money transfer services like MoneyGram, Ria and Western Union. Those companies' fraud databases revealed that more than $197 million in payments that were the subject of fraud complaints were sent or received at Walmart, the FTC noted, while more than $1.3 billion in related payments also possibly connected to the fraud.

"While scammers used its money transfer services to make off with cash, Walmart looked the other way and pocketed millions in fees," Samuel Levine, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a release. "Consumers have lost hundreds of millions, and the Commission is holding Walmart accountable for letting fraudsters fleece its customers."  

Walmart didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.