One of the most viral posts on Facebook right now is about an alleged "Wal-Mart cash back scam" that claims that cashiers are quietly charging cash back amounts onto customers' receipts without their knowledge, then pocketing the money. One such post, from a woman named Suzie Shultz, has been shared more than half a million times, and hundreds are warning each other about avoiding these situations by taking a closer look at receipts after checking out.
It turns out this so-called "scam" actually dates back to chain e-mails in 2004 and has popped up and spread wildly every few years since then. The stories typically include a picture of the receipt, as shown above, and an "it happened to me" anecdote from various Wal-Mart locations, especially Milford, Delaware.
Urban legend debunking website Snopes.com has exposed the claim, pointing out that it doesn't make sense since cash-back transactions require customers' involvement and knowledge.
"Our cashiers have no method of initiating cash back from their register terminal," Wal-Mart spokeswoman Kayla Whaling said in an e-mail. "The customer is the only one who can prompt the cashier to give cash back."
It's still a good idea to check your receipts, generally, but this latest claim shouldn't really be a factor in that decision.
Sapna Maheshwari is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Maheshwari reports on retail and e-commerce.
Contact Sapna Maheshwari at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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