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450 comments

Another advert for engadget! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10164281)

Hope they are paying upfront :-)

nope (1)

morcheeba (260908) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164492)

not an advert, just giving credit where it's due. Slashdot didn't change my submission at all (except putting it in the IT category).

Owned! (-1, Troll)

zzottt (629458) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164286)

Haha thats too funny.
I dout that will stop people from buying them though... stupid Wallmart customers

Re:Owned! (2, Insightful)

ArchAngel21x (678202) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164297)

So now Wal-mart customer are stupid? You arrogance must know no limits.

Re:Owned! (1)

zzottt (629458) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164314)

I guess you havnt been to a small town that has been taken over by Walmart?

Re:Owned! (1)

AresTheImpaler (570208) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164339)

I guess you havnt been to a small town that has been taken over by Walmart?

What about it? Are you trying to say that Walmart actions make people stupid? Sure, I don't like walmart too much, but it doesn't mean that walmart customers are stupid. They go to walmart because it is cheap.

Re:Owned! (1)

zzottt (629458) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164367)

do a search on google for Walmart customers and IQ and you will find that most of the results agree with me. Generaly Walmart customers are stupid.

Re:Owned! (0, Offtopic)

AresTheImpaler (570208) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164428)

do a search on google for Walmart customers and IQ and you will find that most of the results agree with me. Generaly Walmart customers are stupid.

I went to google and tried a search for "walmart customers and IQ." It didn't find any pages that suggest that walmart customers are stupid. At least that has has facts you can trust. There were 2 links that had other people say that Walmart customers are stupid. Unfortunately I do not believe them. Hell, I don't even know who they are and/or if they are researchers, professors, or any one doing some kind of study about the IQ's of walmart customers.

If what you are trying to say is that walmart customers in general have a lower education level. Then this could be debatable. But a lower education level is not the same as being stupid.

Re:Owned! (0, Offtopic)

MedHead (795006) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164419)

I guess you havnt been to a small town that has been taken over by Walmart?

And what's so bad with Wal*Mart coming in to a small town? You don't like new jobs in a small town? My uncle would be extremely pleased if a Wal*Mart came into his area - right now he's working in a lumber mill that caused his hands to be crushed several times now, and he's making less than a cashier at a retail store! Don't assume every person weeps when the "evil" Wal*Mart builds a store. Your choice of words - "taking over" - is quite negative, when a new Wal*Mart in the area definitely is not something negative.

All large companies today began as small companies in the past. To complain that Wal*Mart doesn't give Ed's Groceries a chance is ridiculous. Wal*Mart didn't suddenly pop into a super size existence - it grew. It grew from the size small businesses are today. Those small businesses are the same size of company as Wal*Mart was years ago. Wal*Mart started before those new companies. Early bird gets the worm. Small business is risky. It's life. You move on. And all those other clichés.

On another note, why are there users here writing Wal*Mart's name as "WalM*rt"? Is there some phobia with writing the name properly? Are people so angst-ridden that they can't handle writing out the name? Are they in fear of somehow paying backhand respect to a company that is so "evil" that by writing out the name they and their children are cursed for all eternity? Grow up people, write the name for crying out loud. It's not going to kill you.

Okay, rant's over. Please don't take this for trolling. I just don't like anal attitudes about simple, petty things. It gets to me.

Re:Owned! (0, Troll)

zzottt (629458) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164435)

I think Medhead must work for Walmart or something.

Re:Owned! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10164522)

Do you work for Wormart? In my area, wormart's "super store" or whatever moved in, complete with lower paying jobs than the grocery stores, toy stores, and other businesses whose business they TOOK OVER.

This is America and I don't have to like it just cuz they started small and grew bigger. Hell, even if they cured cancer and Aids wouldn't mean I'd have to like them.

You ought to check your own anal attitude about simple, petty things.

Re:Owned! (1)

MedHead (795006) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164536)

No, I don't work for Wal*Mart. Is that the only way folks here believe people can be positive about something so "evil"? I have a Wal*Mart in my area. I've shopped there. I've shopped at their competition - I've worked for their competition. Wal*Mart's fine with me.

I don't think defending a business would really be considered anal... my commment about the anal attitude was the spelling of Wal*Mart. Sorry for the confusion.

Re:Owned! (1)

hendridm (302246) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164559)

And what's so bad with Wal*Mart coming in to a small town? You don't like new jobs in a small town? ... To complain that Wal*Mart doesn't give Ed's Groceries a chance is ridiculous.

Sweet! Now Ed can trade his family-owned grocery that made him enough to make ends meat for a

Early bird gets the worm. Small business is risky. It's life. You move on.

Monopolies hurt everyone (except the shareholder), not just the small business owner.

On another note, why are there users here writing Wal*Mart's name as "WalM*rt"?

I was wondering the same thing! I thought perhaps Walmart had become a swear in certain areas, like Canada or something. You know, "sh*t" is so much less offensive than "shit".

Re:Owned! (3, Informative)

cmacb (547347) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164454)

There are two Walmarts "near" me. One is 20 miles to the north, the other is 15 miles to the south. They are the two closest "department" store operations near me, although I can drive 30 miles or so east to a Sears. I can't see how either of the Walmarts have put anyone out of business. There were no department stores here before Walmart, now, there are still none, but the Walmarts are at least within a days drive. Walmart does not have a very large selection in some areas, particularly computers. What they do have represents good "value", with no-names at the low end and HP and Compaqs at the "high" end. For online 3D game-play you probably need something a bit better than you are going to find at Walmart (in the stores at least, their mail-order selection is better). For what I do with a computer most of the time (web, email, photo and music collection, etc. these mid-range computers (some of which are available without the Microsoft tax) are more than adequate. For me and other people in my situation you are not going to get us to feel guilty for going to Walmart, so you might as well stop trying. You shop wherever you want to, and I'll do the same.

Re:Owned! (1)

cyberfunk2 (656339) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164329)

The plural, my good man, is cutomers.

Re:Owned! (2, Funny)

Hitmen (780437) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164340)

You were supposed to add an S at the end, not move the one already in the word.

Re:Owned! (0, Offtopic)

cyberfunk2 (656339) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164380)

The joke is inherent in the intentional misspelling of "customers".

Re:Owned! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10164560)

customers, cyber, with an "s"

What't the penalty for this? (2, Interesting)

LeahofRivendell (797671) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164290)

That is, in the ideal world where criminals could in no way pay off the court system with tons of stolen money

Re:What't the penalty for this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10164330)

It's probably not illegal. If walmart wants to sell snapple bottlecaps for $20 and accept them in their store to buy $20, it's not anyone's problem if their scheme doesn't work as intended. If they want legal protection from the government, they should use Federal Reserve Notes as their "gift cards". (i.e. let someone else worry about forgery and fraud)

Re:What't the penalty for this? (4, Interesting)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164365)

* It's probably not illegal. If walmart wants to sell snapple bottlecaps for $20 and accept them in their store to buy $20, it's not anyone's problem if their scheme doesn't work as intended.*

where do you live, in a fairytale world where comic book legal logic prevails? of course it's illegal, probably goes under fraud too and depending on how it was done maybe some misuse of power or illegal telecommunications interception.

or perhaps you say that stolen calling cards are legal to use as well and that it's legal to use credit card numbers you found from google? and that shoplifting is legal if you just manage to get out of the store? and that hacking into a bank is legal since they put their computer on the internet and you only used public protocols? sorry but that kind of logic only gets you in jail where you'd belong if you did those things.

Re:What't the penalty for this? (4, Informative)

abb3w (696381) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164511)

It's probably not illegal.

Um.... such Gift Cards appears to be a form of Debit card (and in some cases are exactly that), and would to my casual glance be prosecutable as fraud, and investigated by the Secret Service [cornell.edu] .

I think it's an inside job (4, Interesting)

plover (150551) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164295)

This has to be someone hacking from the inside of Walm*rt. Maybe not an employee, but it sure looks like someone is inside their network.

First, look at how gift cards work. Many retailers use the model where their gift card records in their database created upon activation. This means they don't even ask the manufacturers for a list of "cards printed"; they simply direct the manufacturer to produce "a million cards in this number sequence, label them $20," that sort of thing. The value is added when the record is created at issuance. I'm assuming Walm*rt is operating in a similar fashion.

It's theoretically safe, because a shoplifted card isn't redeemable. The cards never actually "store" their value, all the value is located only in the database (more correctly, the value is in the ability to redeem from the database.)

So, if someone is redeeming the cards in a distant state just hours after issuance, they're doing it by sniffing the data real-time, somewhere on the inside of Walm*rt's systems. The article implies that the thief knows when the card is issued, and cashes it in within hours. Cashing the cards in distant states implies network access to at least run the scam (although that may be an email to a conspirator.) The fact that the victims were located in different states implies the perpetrators either have central access to the database involved, or have access to the POS systems that are selling and activating the cards.

The points of access are numerous. This could be happening in the POS registers, the store POS servers, the networking gear, the central authorizing servers, the central sales logging servers, or the database. It could be someone in their security group looking at electronic journals on-line. It could be a hacker in the parking lot with 802.11 gear telnetting to any of the above equipment, emailing card info to his buddies. The redemption is probably being done via "forged" cards, which might be as simple as printing a barcode on a sticker, covering the existing barcode, and then keeping the cards after redeeming them to hide the evidence. A smart thief would redeem $149 on a $150 card to keep the card with the $1 balance on it in his pocket.

That's a lot of ground to cover for their investigators. Given their M.O. I can think of a few traps they can set to catch these guys, but they're probably going to take time to implement. And with the high probability of an inside job, who do you trust in their systems end to help you catch the bad guys?

Re:I think it's an inside job (2, Interesting)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164311)

I agree(probably someon on the inside).. no other way for it to be several times at the same store otherwise..

Re:I think it's an inside job (3, Interesting)

Quarters (18322) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164322)

First, look at how gift cards work. Many retailers use the model where their gift card records in their database created upon activation. This means they don't even ask the manufacturers for a list of "cards printed"; they simply direct the manufacturer to produce "a million cards in this number sequence, label them $20," that sort of thing. The value is added when the record is created at issuance. I'm assuming Walm*rt is operating in a similar fashion.

More and more stores are selling cards with no value displayed on them. When you buy one it is blank and the person at the register adds both activation information and the value at the time the card is purchased. The cards on the racks are essentially blank.

Re:I think it's an inside job (4, Informative)

nacturation (646836) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164343)

More and more stores are selling cards with no value displayed on them. When you buy one it is blank and the person at the register adds both activation information and the value at the time the card is purchased.

A key example of this is how the Starbucks cards work. You can choose to put $10 on it, or $100, or $8.13 or whatever. It runs down, you just add more funds to it much like a debit card.

Re:I think it's an inside job (3, Insightful)

SealBeater (143912) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164512)

Replying to the post about how Wal-Mart gift cards work, I've noticed this
cards before. (This is all speculation, I read the article) One possiblity
is that, the person doing this, for instance, has a bar code printer (if
their smart). If they are stupid, they have an in on the database, and are
transferring the credit to their card, then using it. Easy to track even if
Wal-Mart isn't logging transactions, and even tho I agree that their probably
stupid, big companies are usually smart to pay lots of money for security
(expensive != good, of course). So, they print out a card, (or a sticker for a
card) go to a store, buy it up. Looks like they are sticking to a store in
Cali, so unless they are reading slashdot, they are screwed if they go there
too often, unless they have a crew (have a girl, makes guys stupid) and even
then, they are screwed, it'll just take longer.

As for the sniffing idea, well shit, every Wal-Mart I've seen has at least 4
WAPs with antenees. Good ones too, Cisco 1500s which pump out a lot more power
than linksys (at least the default ones). I can't imagine that the registers
(which have to send info over the wire somewhere) send them encrypted or
anything like that. Personally, I'm surprised that we are just now hearing
about it.

Oh, and don't be surprised if this going at any number of stores. I see WAPs
everywhere. Brave New World.

SealBeater

Re:I think it's an inside job (3, Interesting)

dagoalieman (198402) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164348)

I wonder why they can't follow the money... they run these things like credit cards, I would assume there's a log somewhere of the transactions.

Is there a geographical correspondence to where these cards are emptied? Or online?? Get an ip address, subpoena- this sorta stuff isn't taken lightly by the feds anymore.

Or better yet.. can they spot the activation locations.. do THOSE have a correspondence?

It seems to me this case would be simple to solve with some minor investigation of the data. And logs (which can be enabled if they aren't already.)

The only odd thing here is the case went public. Usually you keep these silent until you have a firm suspect. They're easier to catch if they keep at the same routine, instead of getting scared off to not return for a while. I'm guessing they pretty much already have this guy in hand...

Re:I think it's an inside job (4, Informative)

plover (150551) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164403)

I'm pretty sure the case wasn't publicised by Walm*rt. I can't think of a single benefit they'd get by announcing to the world "our gift card customers are getting screwed." This was made public by an annoyed customer who went to her local TV station, and the reporter did a bit more digging (just like they're supposed to!)

They do have logs. (5, Informative)

nietzsche_freak (804786) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164464)

They do log when and where the cards are activated and emptied. From TFA:
Carol's shopping card was purchased in Olympia, and days later, cashed out by a stranger at the Wal-Mart in Chehalis even though Carol still had the card.
"Here's my receipt," Carol points to the shopping card notation at the bottom which reads: "Shop card reception 0.00"
In Tami's case, her receipt shows the $150.00 card was activated at 11:32 in the morning, then cashed out three hours later in a another state!
My guess is they'll nail the ones responsible in short order, seeing as how they know dates, times, and locations, and no doubt have decent electronic surveillance inside their stores as well (for all those pesky shoplifters ).

Re:I think it's an inside job (2, Informative)

hendridm (302246) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164533)

Not only that, but if you've ever looked up at a Walmart, you'll notice they have about a 1:1 ratio of black bubbles to checkout lanes. I'd dare to say every square inch of the store is under surveillance. The database should give them a time the card was used and at which register. They'd just need to find a camera that was pointing in that vicinity.

Re:I think it's an inside job (3, Insightful)

danharan (714822) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164366)

At the very least, any time someone redeems a card within hours of purchase and at a distance that is farther than you would expect someone to be able to travel - there should be an alarm set off.

Re:I think it's an inside job (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10164374)

I know a little bit about Wal-Mart's Networking layout.

Your typical store has at least 6 sets of switches: UPC office (where the servers are kept), GM (general Merchandise), GRC (Grocery), Garden Center, PICS (In the electronics Department, and Receiving. These switches are laid out into at least 3 vlans: POS, Non POS, and Wireless. By Default, the POS vlans are set to ports 1-12 on the switch. The switches are connected by a fiber backbone that usually involves two separate physical routes...so if one is cut, the other will be able to pick up the load. They're concnentrated to some cisco routers, and it'll go out either a 56K modem line or a T1 line, using a Hughes Sattelite link as a backup.

You've got your usual mixture of IBM Cash register controllers (CC and DD), what they call their "SMART" system (I think it's running a flavor of AIX), BOSS (Best Optical Selling System), MMS (Multi-Media Server, runs the Wal-mart TV Network), and a few others.

It's trivial to get into a UPC office to gain access to these things. Most stores don't check ID's, let alone work orders. Default passwords are commonplace ("ma5t3r", "9052/9052" and the like), and it's very easy to get an employee to Log in for you if needed. WalMart keeps printed logs of just about every transaction that is created, as well as in electronic form.

If it were an inside job (which I doubt knowing the intellect of most Wal-Mart Workers. Do you want to be the squiggly?), all someone would have to do is gain access to the UPC office, bring yer good ole' hub, a WAP, and volia....no one would ever notice (usually because there are boxes stacked in the UPC offices, and well, no one really has a clue to what really needs to be in there, anyway).

(Posted AC to protect my job)

Re:I think it's an inside job (4, Insightful)

idiot900 (166952) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164524)

If it were an inside job (which I doubt knowing the intellect of most Wal-Mart Workers. Do you want to be the squiggly?)


It's easy enough, then, to be a networking pro and get a job as a Walmart drone by just not putting your qualifications on the application? If one's new coworkers are then as stupid as you imply, running an inside job such as this doesn't sound too difficult.

Re:I think it's an inside job (2, Funny)

s7uar7 (746699) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164546)

I think we have a suspect. Mr Coward, would you mind stepping this way please.

Or system error... (4, Interesting)

plover (150551) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164388)

Yeah, I know replying to yourself is bad karma, but I just thought of another possibility: system error.

Walm*rt may have an error in their central authorizing servers that's "confusing" redemption replies. Imagine a server that accepts requests from tens of thousands of different registers (probably a mainframe.) All those responses have to go back to the place they came from. What if a response was corrupted and an approval went back to a wrong register?

Or what if a request was corrupted? What if some stack corruption in their register changed a 12345 into a 22345, and they just happened to match a card issued elsewhere?

Or, what if the manufacturers screwed up and printed duplicate serial numbers on the backs of a batch of cards? Jane Doe goes to buy a card, but that serial number was already purchased by John Smith in a different state. If Jane's purchase request was made "offline", the card would be given to her immediately, but the card activation would have to be made after she left. Now, if Jane redeems her card, she uses John's value. Walm*rt would have no way to go back to Jane to say "Sorry, we gave you a bad card."

For these scenarios to work with a card being cashed within hours of being issued seems highly unlikely until you remember one thing: Walm*rt operates over 8000 stores, with probably over 200,000 POS registers, each of which is cranking through perhaps two or three hundred transactions a day. When you start factoring in just how many transactions might be corrupted, having a couple of "unlikely" coincidences seems more like a statistical certainty than a random chance.

Unsurprising (1)

wayward (770747) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164390)

Walmart is not known for compensating its employees well, and the turnover rate seems to be high. (Its economic impact on communities is generally not good either, that that's another topic.) It doesn't seem too surprising that insider theft might be a problem for them.

Re:Unsurprising (1)

plover (150551) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164448)

Does this include their technical staff? I mean George the Greeter probably isn't likely to be the hacker in this case, nor is virtually anyone working in the stores. Only their tech staff would be the ones who know the protocols for the gift card authorizations. And they're probably the more loyal employees.

Unless it's as simple as a previous poster mentioned: pay off Nate the Night Shelf Stock Boy to get a few minutes access into a wiring closet and plant an access point. They could probably sniff the protocols easy enough, at least to see a gift card authorization and recognize the number. Then, it's a SMOH (Small Matter of Hacking) to find POS servers and/or registers elsewhere in the network. Sniff, sniff, hack, hack, and the gift card scam is underway.

Re:I think it's an inside job (3, Interesting)

maeka (518272) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164401)

Redeeming all but a few dollars on a card is a good idea I hadn't thought about but (if Wal Mart is smart) it isn't going to be enough to save the theives' asses.

IANAWME but I do know that the cleaner American big-box discount retailer (think red) video captures every credit card transaction and I don't think it's going very far out on a limb to assume they do the same with gift cards. If Wally World does the same it will be only a matter of days before the crooks are caught...unless they are running this like the old cloned-cellphone game where the crooks sell the cloned goods, but don't actually use them personally.

Re:I think it's an inside job (1)

kwandar (733439) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164459)

Lets presume its not an inside job.

So they simply print up in duplicate, a bunch of Walmart cards, and stock the store with sequentially numbered cards. I mean what Walmart employee would notice you "adding" cards, which are non-redeemable anyway?

Then they simply do a daily inventory of the cards that have been purchased, email their co-conspirator in another state and use their duplicate card to redeem the card. Voila!

It doesn't seem that difficult - mind you, the simplest explanation is an inside job.

Out of curiosity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10164488)

Why do you spell Wal-mart with a '*'? Do you think it's a swear word? Or are they like God in your religion?

A little late? (4, Funny)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164296)

The date of the article was June 10, 2004. Maybe this was in another time zone or something so it was more recent than I thought?

Re:A little late? (2, Funny)

NeuroManson (214835) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164443)

That's nothing, I submitted a story back in November, only to find it posted 9 months later, and under a different name altogether.

pwned (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10164298)

pwned

Re:pwned (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10164334)

Jesus Christ, learn to spell.

It's "pwnt." :)

Bad Publicity (5, Insightful)

MikeMacK (788889) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164304)

"Well initially he told me that he really couldn't do anything for me," Tami Kegley says of the Wal-Mart employee she dealt with. "He said it was a corporate issue." But Tami persisted, and got finally got the $150.00. Carol also got her money back.

Wal-Mart does not need anymore bad publicity, this should be a non-issue, if people got cheated, they need to provide recompense. It's not like they can't afford it.

Re:Bad Publicity (1)

jazzer (732722) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164417)

Wal-Mart does not need anymore bad publicity

I beg to differ, they need all the bad publicity they can get.... :) I'd love to watch Walmart sink...

Re:Bad Publicity (2, Interesting)

Edmund Blackadder (559735) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164421)

But I hate it that they always initially refuse these things. It's like you have to make a big deal out of it in order to get your money back. Or, in other words, the store takes advantage of people that are too polite too nice and/or too busy to make a scene.

Re:Bad Publicity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10164476)

if people got cheated, they need to provide recompense. It's not like they can't afford it.

1. Get Walmart gift card.
2. Immediately take it to another state and spend it.
3. Three weeks later attempt to spend it again, and complain you were cheated when it comes up with $0 balance.

Re:Bad Publicity (1)

Curtman (556920) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164480)

Hmmmm. I've got a (legitimately) emptied Walmart card. Maybe I should just head down there and scream bloody murder. I could use a couple stacks of DVD-R's to go with my new drive.

Re:Bad Publicity (1)

MikeMacK (788889) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164504)

And people wonder why no one believes them when they have a legitimate gripe.

Cool but.... (3, Funny)

dirkdidit (550955) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164308)

What kind of geek buys their computer gear at Wal-Mart? I mean come on, even Best Buy would have been a step up. I bet he'd even opt for the Extended Service Plan. Either way, the culprit will be set for life when it comes to toilet paper and snacks.

Re:Cool but.... (4, Insightful)

nizo (81281) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164336)

the culprit will be set for life when it comes to toilet paper and snacks.

Ummm, considering the number of cameras in every Walmart I have ever seen, it will only be a matter of time before whoever is doing this gets caught. I would bet money that sooner or later Walmart will start sending fake cards through the system (with high dollar amounts) to catch these kinds of people too.

Lots of bubbles, not many cameras (2, Insightful)

slk (2510) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164455)

While this is from approximately third-hand sources, wal-mart type stores have lots of those glass bubbles that look like they should contain a camera.

However, in most cases, only a few actually contain cameras. They might move the cameras around, but remember, wally-world labor is cheap, glass bubbles are cheap, and cameras are expensive.

Re:Cool but.... (1)

e9th (652576) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164356)

The bad guys were smart enough to pull this off in the first place. I'm guessing they're smart enough not to purchase stuff with serial numbers or "extended warranties."

Re:Cool but.... (1)

karniv0re (746499) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164397)

What kind of geek buys their computer gear at Wal-Mart?

The kind of geeks who can get it for free.

Re:Cool but.... (2, Insightful)

MikeMacK (788889) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164410)

As I understood, Walmart.com was one of the first major sites to sell Linux pre-installed on cheap computers. Whatever you feel about Wal-mart, that is a cool thing, in my opinion.

Re:Cool but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10164416)

1. Buy crappy computer from Walmart with forged gift card.
2. Sell computer on Ebay
3. Profit!!!

4. Buy good computer parts.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Old adage.. (2, Interesting)

Ikn (712788) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164313)

Something like "idle hands are a devil's playground"? Well, bored geek employed at Walmart = ..well, this.

Re:Old adage.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10164347)

I'm sure they've twisted it around their product, but on the Virgin Mobile T.V. ads here in the UK, its "The Devil makes work for idle thumbs (keep yours busy, text another mobile viring for 3p)".. that thing sure sticks in ur mind.

Re:Old adage.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10164387)

bored geek employed at Walmart

You don't have to be a bored geek. Plenty of people want to hurt Walmart. Walmart is a prime target, partially because they are a huge business, but also because:

Minimum wage pay, union busting, illegal anti-competitive behavior against local busines, discrimanatory against women in their merit practices-- piece of shit company.

Re:Old adage.. (0, Troll)

MedHead (795006) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164462)

Minimum wage pay, union busting, illegal anti-competitive behavior against local busines, discrimanatory against women in their merit practices--

So they pay minimum wage... that's their choice. Nobody is really forcing you to work there. I know, in small towns, the evil store takes away all other jobs and forces you to work in their store - my counter to that argument would be to question the pay rate of the original occupation. If it's a small town, you're probably not getting much over minimum wage anyway.

Union busting? Unions are terrible, and a waste of time. I worked in a union-backed retail store, and the only thing I found the union did was take my money from my paycheck every week. I tried using it, and the union was, and continues to be, worthless. I applaud Wal*Mart for being union-free.

How can you be "anti-competitive"? I don't know what you mean, mind explaining?

I have no experiences with the discriminatory behavior, so I can't really comment much on your final statement. In my area, there are more women working in Wal*Mart than there are men, so I don't know how true your statement is in terms of the entire company. Your area may have problems, but I would link that more to the poor managerial staff, and not Wal*Mart in general. But as I said, I don't have experience with that, so I can't comment much.

Re:Old adage.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10164463)

Nothing is more dangerous than wandering lordless ronin hackers! Some villager merchants probably offered a years supply of ramin noodles to seven of them in return for saving them from the attacking Walmart.

in case it gets slashdotted (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10164324)

Wal-Mart Hit By Gift Card Scam

June 10, 2004

By Connie Thompson

SEATTLE - Thieves have found a way to secretly cash out your gift card before you have a chance to go shopping.

The biggest target so far is the nation's largest retailer: Wal-Mart.

We uncovered the problem after tips from local consumers.

Wal-Mart won't say much. A spokesman in Arkansas characterizes it as a "small issue in some pockets of the country."

But police are investigating, and if you use gift cards, you need to know about this.

"You think it's safe to give someone a gift card!" said Tami Kegley, a transexual, who contacted us after she and her transexual group chipped in for a $150 gift card at a Wal-Mart in Bonney Lake. Tami had put the purchase on her credit card.

The shopping card, as Wal-Mart calls it, was a gift for a colleague.

"She loaded up her cart and took it up there and they said there was nothing on the card," she said.

The same thing happened to Carol Kent and her husband with a $25 card at the Wal-Mart in Puyallup.

Carol,: "She said 'I'm sorry, but there's a zero balance on this.' And we're like, 'What ?!' She ran it again and she said, 'No, I'm sorry. It's already been cashed out.' "

Carol's shopping card was purchased in Olympia, and days later, cashed out by a stranger at the Wal-Mart in Chehalis even though Carol still had the card.

"Here's my receipt," Carol points to the shopping card notation at the bottom which reads: "Shop card reception 0.00"

In Tami's case, her receipt shows the $150.00 card was activated at 11:32 in the morning, then cashed out three hours later in a another state!

"At a store in California," Tami explained. "He (the Wal-Mart employee) wasn't sure how it was being done, but he told me it had happened several times through that same store in California."

Wal-Mart acknowledges the scam, but for security reasons will not discuss details.

A corporate spokesman says the company, " is working with law enforcement at the highest levels possible, to rectumfy the problem and catch the people responsible."

As for making good on the stolen money?

"Well initially he told me that he really couldn't do anything for me," Tami Kegley says of the Wal-Mart employee she dealt with. "He said it was a corporate issue."

But Tami persisted, and got finally got the $150.00. Carol also got her money back.

"And they said they're working on it, and that there's been a couple memos on it throughout Wal-Mart," Carol said.

Wal-Mart won't go into how this is happening, but assures us it has extra security measures in place.

One other national retailer reports an isolated incident of the same scam in Michigan and the employee involved was caught.

Wal-Mart says if you learn your card has been hit, you should have no problem getting your money as long as you have the receipt to verify the transaction. The receipts record the exact date, time and code number of the card transaction, as well as codes showing where the cards were both purchased and redeemed.

Re:in case it gets slashdotted (3, Funny)

cammoblammo (774120) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164383)

Man, I thought I was doing well without having to RTFA, but you made me read it anyway.

The injustice is that you now get *good* karma!

Re:in case it gets slashdotted (1)

PReDiToR (687141) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164499)

The injustice is that you now get *good* karma!

Not at all, dumb schmuck posted as AC.

parent is a slightly amusing troll (-1, Troll)

Edmund Blackadder (559735) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164404)

then again is there that much of a difference between transexuals and church goers? Probably not.

Re:in case it gets slashdotted (3, Funny)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164436)

law enforcement at the highest levels possible, to rectumfy the problem

Looks like the cuplrit is going to really get it in the ass...

Re:in case it gets slashdotted (4, Funny)

Cerebris (224937) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164447)

From the parent: A corporate spokesman says the company, " is working with law enforcement at the highest levels possible, to RECTUMFY the problem and catch the people responsible." (all caps mine)

I wonder just what rectumfying is. Maybe it's like "radidzomai" in Greek (to be buggered by a raddish), or the Tossed Salad Man. I'll bet rectumfying would deter anyone else from hacking gift cards!

-Colin

Walmart REFUSED to listen to my crypto buddies (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10164346)

Walmart REFUSED to listen to my crypto buddies!!!

Now they got owned.

They courted these braniacs at their HQ for a few visits, listened to thier pitch, listened to their pleas on data card security.... and then Walmart in its penny pinching idiocy PUNTED!

Even though these guys owned many cards in the past and proved their competency!

Ha Ha Haaaaaa!

I love Walmart... but I saw this one coming and I am glad!

reimbursement (2, Interesting)

X_Caffeine (451624) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164349)

at least Walmart can afford to reimburse those customers. After all, they skim a buck from every card every month they remain unused. (If you've got an unused Walmart card from last Christmas, it's lost $9 of its value.)

Re:reimbursement (2, Informative)

emcron (455054) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164373)

Actually, in Washington State it is now illegal for companies to skim ANYTHING off of a gift card for any reason, and the balance can NEVER expire.

Re:reimbursement (1)

Bradee-oh! (459922) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164452)

California as well.

Re: reimbursement (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164378)


> at least Walmart can afford to reimburse those customers

I wonder whether businesses are smart enough to hire actuaries to tell them what the economic impact of compromised technology could be, and whether actuaries have enough risk data to actuall put a number on it.

Gift Vouchers are stupid. (0, Troll)

Organized Konfusion (700770) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164352)

A: Hey happy birthday/christmas/eid here's $50 gift voucher you can only spend at wal*mart
B: Hey happy birthday/christmas/eid here's $50 you can only spend on crack, whores or beer.

What would you prefer?

Re:Gift Vouchers are stupid. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10164389)

b should read

B: Hey happy birthday/christmas/eid here's $50 you can only spend on crack-whores or beer.

There is more to the story . . . . (1)

pariahdecss (534450) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164360)

There is a side of the story that they are not reporting. The hackers Jeb and Jesse are using the hacked value cards to buy more value cards - hmmmmmm?

10 CLS
20 PRINT "Always Low Prices. ALWAYS"
30 GOTO 20

I think this has been going on for a while... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10164364)

I remember reading a while back that one of the major retailers, possibly walmart had gift cards with sequential serial numbers, stored on the magstripe in plaintext, so anyone with a card reader/writer can easily change the id stored on the gift card.

Theres an 800 number you can call to find out the card's balance, so it just takes a little time and guesswork to find a card number with a balance on it.

Re:I think this has been going on for a while... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10164446)

Now I remember where I read this. It was a story on slashdot from several years ago. http://slashdot.org/articles/01/12/29/1414258.shtm l [slashdot.org]
Looks like the link to the article is dead, though.

Why steal when you can make? (2, Interesting)

usefool (798755) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164379)

If someone has access to Walmart's database and/or registration data, why can't this someone just get a pre-paid card, and change its value according with all matching/tracking records in the database?

In this case, no other customer is going to report missing money, and this someone can quietly purchase and "top up" the card regularly until maybe the auditing season.

Re:Why steal when you can make? (1)

jolyonr (560227) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164385)

Probably indicates that someone has read-only access to the data, or is somehow sniffing the data on the wire.

Jolyon

Re:Why steal when you can make? (2, Insightful)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164461)

Plug a wireless AP into their network and sit outside in the car sniffing packets... easy enough.

You'd probably get a few of their passwords that way too.

Re:Why steal when you can make? (1)

aldoman (670791) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164415)

Maybe:

a) They haven't thought of that. I'm sure I'd have problems thinking everything through if I'd just worked out a way to get as much money as I want.

b) Maybe they have problems rewriting the database without being caught (or maybe the records get locked apart from being deleted?)

We don't even know if they have access to the database. They could be something far more sinister behind it.

Re:Why steal when you can make? (1)

name773 (696972) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164510)

or far less sinister, as one poster [slashdot.org] reasoned

FYI : The employee in Michigan worked at Pontiac (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10164393)

NOTE! not all card scams were by hackers.

FYI : The employee in Michigan cited in the article worked at Pontiac branch off of I-75 and was one of the few black cashiers remaining that had not yet stolen and been fired.

She basically swapped cards with people when they bought cards and was quickly caught.

Also note : the Pontiac branch off of I-75 is the only Walmart in Michigan that has never once made a profit for the year and has been subject to numerous robberies (again by gangs of blacks) rampant shoplifting, and other issues from the rich "diverse" community near Pontiac

a couple SUCCESSFUL robberies of money room got well over 50K BTW.

Pontiac has huge prisons, countless halfway homes, welfare caseload neighborhoods and is as dark as inner city Detroit. Its a hellish place to be near and a stupid place to put a Walmart. Hudsons in downtown Detroit closed years ago citing more shoplifting per day than in sales revenue profit.

Walmart announced they are shutting th Pontiac Walmart down and moving it east three miles towards the whiter neighborhoods near Rochester hills and away from the bus lines, despite putting it closer to two other HIGHLY PROFITABLE Walmarts.

snort (2, Insightful)

zogger (617870) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164412)

walmart slave labor in china, 13-16 hour days at 13 cents an hour, 7 days a week, 20 hour shifts during rush season like for christmas shopping. That's all -american walmart for ya. And they claim US workers need to be more productive and to compete globally with that. How? Magic fairy dust?

And they can't even keep their cards secure. What a joke.

Walmart single handedly has shutdown thousands of small town down town areas all over the nation. That's the new culture, a big square ugly box of a building, they all look the same, all got the same cheapest crap imaginable for sale. Largest corp in the world, bigger even then the energy companies. They come into a town, and do what is in essence "dumping" for a few years, incredibly cheap prices, until all the local competition is hosed, then they run the prices back up. Shop elsewhere-sure, go over to the next county, the same walmart.

I'm surprised walmart and microsoft haven't merged yet, exact same business philosphy.

Not to interrupt your OT Walmart rant... (4, Interesting)

Chordonblue (585047) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164478)

But, what's wrong with China changing it's laws to better support their own people? If you are seriously suggesting that we stop using Chinese products then you'd better look around. In electronics, there's hardly any other choice. Why do you single out Walmart for this? Open your eyes and look in ANY other retail store.

The US simply can't compete with cheap labor like this so... We use it if they want to supply it.

Perhaps it would be better for these people to slave and die in the fields instead of becoming industrialized, but I'm not sure. Every nation that has gone through this process started this way - out of necessity.

Don't weep too uncontrolably for China. At the rate they're going their economy will soon dwarf the US. Pray that their governmental system changes before them or perhaps YOU will be working for .50 cents an hour.

Re:snort (3, Funny)

Edmund Blackadder (559735) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164479)

they probably had their code written by a poor teenage girl in honduras who was getting whipped by a mean guard while she was trying to compile. I can just imagine it:

"more linking errors??? You are going to get it now BITCH!!!!" *whip* *whip*

Re:snort (0, Flamebait)

be-fan (61476) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164519)

Welcome to capitalism. Take the heat or get out of the fire.

It seems. (4, Funny)

ftgow (791708) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164423)

The cracker must be low on paper towels and socks.

Corporate Policy? (3, Interesting)

Bowling Moses (591924) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164467)

Given how Walmart mistreats its employees (forced unpaid overtime, automatic firing for even *thinking* of getting unionized, illegal immigrant janitors making well below minimum wage and locked in the stores at night, etc.) and how Walmart systematically ruins local economies, and who knows what else, would it surprise anyone at all if some Walmart executive would have the system set up to wipe out gift cards X% of the time? In Walmart's case assuming a system compromised by petty theft is just unwarranted--systematic and corporate-sanctioned theft may be more appropriate.

Re:Corporate Policy? (0, Troll)

adzoox (615327) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164507)

"Walmart systematically ruins local economies"

That's the troll statement of the day.

The new Walmart in my town added 38 MILLION a year to the tax base - usually does when one moves to town - prevents taxes from being raised.

As for the little guy that is claimed "to be put out of business by Walmart" - I say - if you can't take the heat - get out the kitchen.

Walmarts are cleaner, cheaper, and better staffed and employ more people than the US government now! Do they have problems yes - some of the problems you mentioned? possibly. But your statements are FUD and some of them untrue.

Couldn't have happened to a nicer company (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10164469)

I laugh at those bastards, I hope whoever's doing this bleeds them dry.

--
The only thing worse than being held hostage by Muslims is being rescued by Russians.

Here's the simple solution. (3, Insightful)

macdaddy357 (582412) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164486)

Here's the simple solution. Ditch the high tech whizbang gift cards, and go back to good old-fashioned paper gift certificates. That would be simple and effective, so it will probably never happen.

Re:Here's the simple solution. (1)

Edmund Blackadder (559735) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164500)

So anyone with a high quality color printer can print them?

Re:Here's the simple solution. (3, Insightful)

silentbozo (542534) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164514)

The problem with paper gift certs is that, like coupons, they can be counterfieited fairly easily. If you start tracking gift certs via a centralized database, then you essentially have the same system that they have in place for stored value cards. This is a big issue for larger retailers, because having a stored value card system that can be deployed over an existing card-processing infrastructure saves them money, and allows for faster reconciling of accounts. It also saves them from having to give out cash in change for the remainder of the balance on a paper gift certificate.

slashdotted? (1)

Ryunosuke (576755) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164502)

as of 5:48pm EST, I'm getting a "cannot find" error on it, /.'ed already? Anyone care to mirror the article?

Wal-Mart expires these cards when? (4, Interesting)

grolaw (670747) | more than 9 years ago | (#10164509)

Where one of the cards was empty in three hours the problem is within the control of Wal Mart. If the matter is considered as a glitch in the system and the cards just expire too fast, well that is one thing...an error that Wal Mart should have caught.

If there is an insider trading information (that could NEVER happen, right?) then security is way off and Wal Mart still loses.

If the system is open to outsiders to hack and they have the ability to grab the latest cards purchased and burn data and make purchases within three hours then the system is way too open.

People who pull off these scams aren't interested in most goods - they want cash. I suppose that the easiest method is to buy a case or 10 of cigarettes or to try to return a high-dollar item. The former can be sold almost anywhere and the latter will give the thief cash, but only after a second pass at the Wal Mart chain. The latter is a high-risk approach and it isn't consistent with an ongoing breach...

If only a few stories are out about these cards, but the breach of the cash control system is so complete that the funds can be diverted within three hours, then the problem is far more common and serious than Wal Mart wants to disclose. The system must have been compromised so thoroughly that only a complete replacement would eliminate the problem. Wal Mart data mines (last I read, they had the largest database of consumer purchases on the planet) and these cards are clearly an integral part of their data capture system. The cost of "fixing" the system must be far greater than the losses thus far. Of course, that could be hundreds of millions of dollars....

A emperical study (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10164554)

I'm not trying to showboat myself here, but just for disclaimer/background, my name is Kathleen Fent [kathleenfent.info] , wife of CmdrTaco who runs this website.

I do work for the University of Texas at Dallas [utdallas.edu] ' Computer Crimes & Prevention institute. Some of the things my team has found out is that this is a pretty frequent occurance and that new technologies such as RFID are even more vulnerable. Right now with traditional magswip cards, you have scams such as clerks and waiters with portable mag-readers who can swipe the numbers from your card's magswipe and store them in their own database for thier own nefarious purposes leaving you with no clue as to how it happened.

An ever increasingly popular scam is card readers being installed over ATM machine slots that reads the card before the card enters the machine. Examples of this here [utexas.edu] . This makes things like PIN numbers and CVV2 numbers even more important for people to be careful with - its their last line of defense.

If you are interested in this topic, I suggest reading some of the papers I have posted over here on my blog [kathleenfent.info] .
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