OMG Cashback SCAM!!!!—-False

So, the following post is going around Facebook again:




PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR RECEIPTS – THIS IS IMPORTANT AS YOU START YOUR SHOPPING FOR THE CHRISTMAS SEASON CHECK YOUR RECEIPTS BEFORE LEAVING ANY CASHIER’S STATION!!!!! THIS SCAM CAN BE DONE ANYWHERE, AT ANY RETAIL OR WHOLESALE LOCATION!!! It happened at a Wal-Mart Supercenter a month ago. I bought a bunch of stuff, over $150, & I glanced at my receipt as the cashier was handing me the bags. I saw a cash-back of $40. I told her I didn’t request a cash back & to delete it. She said I’d have to take the $40 because she couldn’t delete it. I told her to call a supervisor. Supervisor came & said I’d have to take it! I said NO! Taking the $40 would be a cash advance against my Discover & I wasn’t paying interest on the cash advance!!!!! If they couldn’t delete it then they would have to delete the whole order. So the supervisor had the cashier delete the whole order & rescan everything! The second time I looked at the electronic tab before I signed & a cash-back of $20 popped up. At that point I told the cashier & she deleted it. The total came out right. the cashier agreed that the electronic pad must be defective. (yeah, right!) Obviously the cashier knew the electronic pad wasn’t defective because she NEVER offered me the $40 at the beginning. Can you imagine how many people went through before me & at the end of her shift how much money she pocketed? Just to alert everyone. My coworker went to Milford , DE Wal-Mart last week. She had her items rung up by the cashier. The cashier hurried her along and didn’t give her a receipt. She asked the cashier for a receipt and the cashier was annoyed and gave it to her. My coworker didn’t look at her receipt until later that night. The receipt showed that she asked for $20 cash back. SHE DID NOT ASK FOR CASH BACK! My coworker called Wal-Mart who investigated but could not see the cashier pocket the money. She then called her niece who works for the bank and her niece told her This is a new scam. The cashier will key in that you asked for cash back and then hand it to her friend who is the next person in line. Please, please, please check your receipts right away when using credit or debit cards! This is NOT limited to Wal-Mart, although they are the largest retailer so they have the most incidents. I am adding to this…. My husband and I were in Wal-Mart North Salisbury and paying with a credit card. When my husband went to sign the credit card signer, he just happened to notice there was a $20 cash back added. He told the cashier that he did not ask nor want cash back and she said this machine has been messing up and she canceled it. We didn’t think anything of it until we read this email. I wonder how many “seniors” have been, or will be, “stung” by this one???? BEFORE LEAVING THE CASHIER’S STATION!!!!! CHECK YOUR RECEIPT BEFORE LEAVING THE STAND. I’VE SEEN PEOPLE DO JUST THAT. NOW I’LL START! PASS THIS ON TO YOUR FRIENDS, KIDS, LOVED ONES


Alright folks.  Basic common sense ought to tell you that this one has only the TINIEST little bit of truth to it.  The rest of it is as false as it comes.

Fact one: although some credit cards do allow a cash advance to be drawn on them in order to do so you HAVE TO ENTER A PIN # and it has to be done at either an ATM or at a bank.  It CANNOT be done at the register.  Also, you CANNOT enter your PIN at a register in order to pay for a purchase you when you are paying with a credit card.  I’ve had customers try.  On most registers there isn’t even an option, and on the few that allow you to do so it declines for “incorrect transaction type”.

Fact two: If you ARE paying with a debit card, and have chosen to use your PIN instead of hitting credit, on all but the OLDEST of register systems the cashiers do NOT have the option to choose cash back for you.  You have to hit all those buttons yourself.  AND you then have to re-approve the total amount.  So if you get cash back you didn’t want the only one to blame is yourself.

Now, the tidbit of truth: IF you are paying using a DEBIT CARD, AND instead of hitting credit on the keypad you choose to enter your PIN #, AND if the cashier is slick enough and fast enough, it is in theory possible for this to happen.

But the solution to keep this from happening is REALLY REALLY EASY: always hit the credit option and never use your PIN at a register to pay for a purchase.  First off your bank is probably charging you a fee for making purchases that way, if not at first then likely after so many a month.  Second the keypad of a register in a store is NOT a secure location to type in your PIN (trust me on this, were I so inclined I could have stolen a billion PIN numbers by now, and not just because I’m the cashier, but also on occasion when I’m behind people in line!).

If you really need the cash go find an ATM where you have a chance of using your body to shield the PIN pad while you type.

If you simply HAVE to use your PIN to make a purchase instead of hitting credit there’s two things you should be doing:

First: NEVER allow the cashier to grab the pad and hit buttons for you (its actually against company policy for them to do so ANYWAY in most stores), and

Second: if you didn’t request cash back then the cash drawer on the register SHOULD NOT pop open on all but the oldest of register systems, so if it DOES pop open then stop and check your receipt.  Its a security precaution taken by companies, unless the cashier has to get something out of the drawer or put something in it the cash drawer DOES NOT pop open, both to keep dishonest cashiers out of the cash and also to prevent snatch and grabs by thieves.

The one other tidbit of truth to this hoax: always check your receipt.  Even the best and most honest of cashiers makes mistakes, its entirely possible to accidentally double scan items for example.  And there are certainly lazy cashiers who don’t care, and there are certainly dishonest ones too. 

Additional info: Snopes,

2 thoughts on “OMG Cashback SCAM!!!!—-False”

  1. The only quibble I have whith your analysis is that I don’t pay debit card usage fees – ever. One bank tried that (a local bank) and I got out of there fast. They are making money off the merchant, just as credit card companies do, if just a smaller amount (something like 3% for DC’s and 5% for CC’s).

    Otherwise I agree that this transaction could not have happened without the participation of the buyer. I have hit the cash back option by accident before and it always gives me a chance to cancel that – so I’m not buying their story.

    • You’re lucky! Its becoming more and more common to charge some kind of fee for debit usage. If not on EVERY transaction then on transactions over the first X number.

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