A southern Alberta woman is speaking up after she says $3,497.59 in fraudulent and interest charges were made to her Walmart Rewards Mastercard over the last few years.
She hopes to warn others of her mistakes and is also seeking answers from the credit card company.
Shelley Bagnall signed up for the card in Lethbridge in March 2018 and had been using it exclusively at Walmart stores and on its website, paying off the balance immediately at the till.
“In my mind, everything is fine because I’m paying my card off continually. I’m not getting notified about any strange activity on my account. I haven’t been notified of having a balance that keeps carrying over and getting bigger and bigger,” Bagnall explained.
“I use my card at Walmart only to get the points.”
Bagnall said she hadn’t been getting electronic or paper statements but didn’t think much of it since she knew exactly how and where her card was being used.
In April, she decided to log onto her online account for the first time to check on a return.
“I found that I was carrying a balance of just under $3,500, so that was quite shocking, quite upsetting,” she said.
Bagnall provided Global News with several statements dating back to June 2019. They appear to show numerous charges to subscription services made in USD.
When she found the charges, she said she immediately put her card on hold.
Bagnall said she currently can’t access any older statements in the system but suspects the strange charges go back further.
“I speculate that potentially my information was sold right from the start,” she said. “Because whoever was using my card knew my full name, knew my middle initial, knew the PIN number on the back of my card.
“I didn’t give that to anybody.”
Since April 15, Bagnall tried to reach Walmart representatives, as well as Duo Bank — the company in charge of the Walmart Rewards Mastercard — but had no luck.
“To find that this has been happening for so long and I haven’t been notified or that there were strange charges on there and I haven’t been notified? Walmart Mastercard dropped the ball, I think,” she said.
“My mistake, sadly, is that I did not check my statements sooner, so (this) went on much longer than it should have.”
She said she eventually paid off the balance in an effort to protect her credit rating and to not incur further interest charges. She said she also contacted the Lethbridge Police Service for assistance but said authorities weren’t able to do much to pursue the case.
“I just said, ‘Is there anything you guys can do on your end to help me out?'” she said. “They kind of did everything they could do from their end. They gave me a lot of suggestions of what to do if this could potentially happen the next time.”
Global News reached out to Walmart for comment.
A response from Duo Bank on Friday read: “We take all customer concerns seriously. We have followed the industry-standard practice of investigating the disputed transactions. We can assure you the customer will be contacted again and offered an appropriate resolution.”
Following Global News’ request, Bagnall said she was contacted by a Duo Bank representative, who offered her $1,000 in good faith.
Bagnall told Global News she is now in contact with Duo Bank about accessing her older statements and plans to accept the offer despite still feeling let down.
“They didn’t look out for me.”
Financial advisor Kevin Kranzler said victims of fraud shouldn’t be embarrassed if it happens to them, adding it’s very important to keep track of purchases.
“As much as (credit card companies) have that liability policy that limits the consumer as far as liability issues go, you need to be responsible with your purchases,” he said.
“I’m not saying look at your statements every day (but) at least once a month or when you’re paying your bill.”
Kranzler advised clients to have preventative measures when it comes to avoiding credit card fraud.
“Keeping your credit card on you at all times. Don’t share your PIN information,” he said. “Try and limit the number of credit cards that you have. It’s hard to manage five, six credit cards.”