Sales down, Debit Card Fraud up at Walmart

by Sarah Grotta 0

You may have heard about Walmart’s worrisome earnings report yesterday. In addition to higher wage costs and currency issues weighing down on profitability, Walmart is experiencing higher debit card fraud. As reported in Consumer Affairs:

Security analysts, meanwhile, are concerned about what they say is a gradual but consistent rise in the number of fraudulent purchases being made at Walmart.
Fraud alerts have been issued in at least 16 states this year, according to CSO, an online journal of corporate security managers.

With debit cards migrating more slowly to EMV standards, debit cards magnetic stripes make for easier targets. Also with the use of PIN-less debit at the point of sale, where smaller dollar transactions are approved without a PIN across the EFT debit networks, one more security step is removed. This spike in fraud has many banks rejecting PIN-less debit transactions from Walmart.

The latest alert, CSO reported, came from the Philadelphia Federal Credit Union, which warned customers of fraudulent activity at Walmart locations throughout the country.
“The fraud pattern includes charges $50.00 and under which are being processed as “Pinless Debit” transactions. During these transactions, your card is swiped, but you are not asked to enter your PIN (Personal Identification Number) or sign for the transaction,” the notice says.
As a result, the credit union said it will reject all debit transactions at Walmart that are conducted without a PIN. Similar warnings have been issued recently in Pennsylvania and Virginia.
“Effective immediately, you must provide your PIN number for all debit card transactions at any Walmart or Super Walmart,” Provident State Bank of Maryland advised its customers

Overview by Sarah Grotta, Director, Debit Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group

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