America’s Federal Trade Commission has sued Walmart, claiming it turned a blind eye to fraudsters using its money transfer services to con folks out of “hundreds of millions of dollars.”
In a lawsuit [PDF] filed Tuesday, the regulator claimed the superstore giant is “well aware” of telemarketing fraudsters and other scammers convincing victims to part with their hard-earned cash via its services, with the money being funneled to domestic and international crime rings.
Walmart is accused of allowing these fraudulent money transfers to continue, failing to warn people to be on their guard, and failing to adopt policies and train employees on how to prevent these types of hustles.
The FTC wants the courts to order Walmart to return the money to victims and make the corporation cough up penalties for, in the regulator’s view, breaking the FTC Act and Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act.
“While scammers used its money transfer services to make off with cash, Walmart looked the other way and pocketed millions in fees,” said Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Consumers have lost hundreds of millions, and the Commission is holding Walmart accountable for letting fraudsters fleece its customers.”
Walmart, unsurprisingly, has a different version of events.
“This lawsuit is factually misguided and legally flawed and Walmart will defend against it aggressively,” a spokesperson told The Register.
“Claiming an unprecedented expansion of the FTC’s authority, the agency seeks to blame Walmart for fraud that the agency already attributed to another company while that company was under the federal government’s direct supervision,” the company added in a canned statement.
“Walmart will defend the company’s robust anti-fraud efforts that have helped protect countless consumers, all while…