How Walmart and Moneygram are helping scammers in Cameroon

I was scammed.

It happened for two reasons: 1) I’m an idiot and 2) Walmart and Moneygram allow scammers to use their platform and services without any sort of security measurements most likely because they turn a big profit on it.

Here’s what happened:

I found something I wanted to buy on Craigslist. The price was good, maybe even too good to be true. According to the seller he lived about 3 hours from me and wouldn’t meet me unless I sent half the product’s price through Moneygram in advance.

I knew it was a scam right away, specially after Googling a little bit and finding hundreds of articles about these scams.

I had free time available so I decided to see where it would lead and went to my neighborhood Walmart to inquiry about the service. The seller told me that without the reference number he wouldn’t be able to withdraw the money and that’s what the representatives at Walmart confirmed when I went there a few minutes later while still texting the scammer.

Had Walmart representatives not confirmed the reference number requirement to withdraw the money, I would never have moved forward with it.

I even told them what I was doing, playing along with an internet scammer, and to be honest, they advised me not to do it.

The money was sent for someone in Cameroon in less than 10 minutes at Walmart customer service’s desk. To increase the security of the operation I was allowed to add a test question to the transaction and I did so. The idea is that they have to answer before they can get the money.

Example of Moneygram’s money order form

With the receipt in hands and the answer to my security question I continued the conversation with the scammer and sent him a picture of the payment receipt and one with my information and his, but none with test question’s answer and reference number.

I waited until this morning and not to my surprise the scammer said he could not meet me and tried to convince me into sending him more money.

At that point I knew it was over and headed to Walmart to get my money back since I had not provided the scammer the reference number. This is where things started going wrong. Another representative said that the transaction was not in a state where it could be refunded anymore and gave me Moneygram’s phone number to contact them and figure things out.

Screencapture from Moneygram’s F.A.Q page stating that the reference number is required

I called Moneygram and after explaining the situation I was told that I might’ve been taken advantage of and that people can withdraw the money simply by showing their ID. I was also told that the reference number is not required and that they don’t use the test question anymore (despite still being in the form and being confirmed by the Walmart’s representative).

That was it.

This is the story of how I was robbed by an old and known internet scam with the help of Walmart representatives that gave me wrong information despite my repeated inquiries and lack of any action by Moneygram who definitely is profiting big from these sorts of operations.

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