Walmart Sells You An Empty Box Instead Of A Laptop — But You Bought It With Stolen Credit Cards

You know how sometimes in football both teams will screw up on the same play and the penalties will offset? We’ve just found the fraud version of that situation. Three men brought a laptop computer box to Walmart and said that they’d been sold an empty box. Walmart thought they were being scammed, so they called the police. That’s when all hell broke loose.

When the police arrived on the scene, one of the three men ran away, dropping credit cards on the ground. It turns out that these credit cards were fakes encoded with real stolen credit card numbers. The men were arrested and there’s now an ongoing investigation as to the origin of the numbers… but here’s the hilarious part — Walmart actually did sell these guys an empty box instead of a laptop.

The AP says:

The counterfeit credit cards were encoded with valid stolen credit card numbers and police say an investigation is ongoing to identify the account holders.

Store employees later discovered they had indeed sold an empty box to the three men.

Walmart Busts Three Men for Fraud After Accidentally Selling Them Empty Computer Boxes [Fox News] (Thanks, Tom!)
(AP Photo/Chris O’Meara, File)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Froggmann says:

    Umm, two wrongs make a funny?

  2. NotYou007 says:

    That is freaking funny as hell. For once a Walmart screw has a positive outcome. Was in Walmart tonight enjoying their cheap food prices.

  3. superhumanben says:

    haha! Pwned

  4. Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

    Geeez. This isn’t the first time their laptop boxes are deceiving… just this weekend, my mother spilled coffee all over her laptop, and we went to buy her a new one with $600 CASH. Bought the laptop, brought it home… IT WAS USED. Not only was is USED, but it stilled had a burned CD in the drive, and was missing all the pertinent Windows software.

    My father and sister returned the laptop within 6 HOURS of purchase, for Walmart to practically call them liars and proceeded to verify all serial numbers, and almost refused to allow the return. They made my father and sister feel like criminals. It CLEARLY SAYS 45 days for returns on electronics. They eventually got their money back, but I don’t think they’ll be shopping at a walmart again all too soon.

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:


      Clue #1- The box said $548, the shelf said $798. We thought we were getting a clearance deal.

      Clue #2- Box had clearly been opened before. We noticed this once we got home. Please check all your purchases before leaving the store to see if they have been opened before.

      • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

        @verucalise: I never remember to do that when I buy electronics…but always do when I buy items at Ikea! (since I worked there for years, I know how it can be)

      • socalrob of the 24 and a half century says:

        I have learned to not buy open box items from big retailers such as Best Buy, Walmart and Fry’s.

        Bought a DvD player O.B. from Best Buy under the “oh yeah its got everything and is good” from the sales rep. It was missing cables which I didn’t notice and wasn’t working. Returned it that same night to see 5 more of the same model sitting opened and returned there at the returns desk. BB “do you want the same model?” Me “Hell no, look at all those returns. I want something that works”.

    • kamel5547 says:

      @verucalise: I don’t think there is any major purchase that you can make nowdays @ the retail level where you do not need to open the box and verify the contents. Way too many scams, and stores are failing to check returns thoroughly (or the employees themselves are in on it possibly).

      Unfortunately this seems to occur at all retailers… I kind of avoid retail for this reason (well along with poor price competition for the most part).

    • ceilingFANBOY says:

      @verucalise: While no one likes restocking fees, they can protect you from this situation. The reason why you got a used one is that because Wal-Mart has no restocking fee, anything that is returned and no defect is able to be verified gets put back on the shelf. Granted, this should not have happened with a laptop because the policy is that anything with a memory (MP3 player, game system, computer, memory card, cell phone, etc.) is supposed to be returned to the manufacturer because they could have personal information on them or explicit material. Chances are someone didn’t know that part of the return policy on laptops, it was checked and no one found anything wrong with it (they probably didn’t know it was supposed to come with a disk), and put it back on the shelf. If there was a restocking fee, then Walmart would be able to sell it as an open box, but can’t do so without a restocking fee because laptops have very little, if any, markup and the store would lose money if it had to discount the laptop for being opened.

      • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

        @ceilingFANBOY: Yeah, I called my dad to make sure I got the story right… he said there was still a PASSWORD on the computer as well.

        Pffffft. Boy, he was PISSED.

        But, back to the original story… I find the empty box a perfect match to the souls of those men.

        Hope they got an extensive cavity search.

      • dweebster says:

        @ceilingFANBOY: If sold as “new” then it’s major fraud by Walmart.

        • ceilingFANBOY says:

          @dweebster: I know. I hate the policy of putting things back on the shelf that have been opened and returned. However, without any kind of restocking fee, that’s the way it’s always going to happen.

    • CharlotteGabulous says:


      It sadden’s me to hear that! How could THEY DO SUCH A THING!? They sell you a USED laptop then refuse to return your money back! and the ticket specifically that you had 45 days to return it and YOU went like 6 hours after the purchase. Obviously you had the upper hand in this case—-problem is they love to fuck people up even though their right! This pisses me off so much! Anyway happy to know you got your money back regardless.

  5. Knippschild says:

    Poetic Justice.

  6. RaphaelJudo says:

    ALWAYS, ALWAYS, open electronics in the store in front of another employee before making the purchase to verify that what is in the box ACTUALLY is what is supposed to be in the box.

    To hell with their policies, to hell with the protests from the employee and/or manager. This is the only way to not have them screw you over once you walk out those doors.

    • Android8675 says:

      @RaphaelJudo: …but please, please. Buy the product first BEFORE you open it, Opening a product, then putting it back on the shelf without at least telling someone is just bad form and causes stress when the employees eventually find the item and have to spend 15-20 minutes figuring out if there’s a thief on the loose.

    • Babelfish says:

      @RaphaelJudo: Wow, no. Buy it before you open it if it’s a sealed product. People who don’t are douchebags. But definitely open it up in the store before leaving if it was any sort of big purchase or some unreturnable purchase. (Which is to say, don’t bother if you know the product is in the box, but it’s small and you can return it easily if something is wrong with it. If it’s a computer or something of the sort, open it up and make sure it’s there before leaving.)

  7. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    I love this story!


  8. all4jcvette says:

    That’s is why, regardless of the big box store your purchase electronics from, you should always open the box before you walk out and verify the everything is there and as it should be. Several employees, who are technology stupid, just box it back up and put it on the shelf, instead of returning it to the manufacture like they are told/trained to.

    • NotYou007 says:


      Theives normally just want to get out of the store as quick as they can. In this case they ended up getting their asses handed to them. This isn’t a story about Walmart screwing over an honest consumer who did do the the basics. It’s about Walmart screwing up and taking some bad people off the stret.

      This is the best Walmart mistake ever. They might try doing this more often for the fun of it.

    • rushevents says:

      @all4jcvette: As an ex best buyer I can say that is not a bad idea. Although the geek squad will open the box for you with most computer sales – granted it is to try and sell you more stuff.

    • PaulaMole says:

      @all4jcvette: One common MO for theives is to buy a new laptop/TV/whatever, take the product out of the box, and replace the product with something heavy and cheap; indiana-jones style. I’ve seen CSRs inspect a laptop box that was supposedly sealed – when they looked at the tape on the bottom it looked like the tape had been lifted and replaced (there was hair under the tape). After opening the box, the guy returning it bolted out the door. The box had a yellow pages book and a broken cellphone in it.

  9. gatewaytoheaven says:

    This is obviously Walmart’s fault for selling boxes with no laptops inside. This entire situation with the police and “alleged” stolen credit cards would’ve been avoided if someone had just managed to package properly.

  10. Zanorfes says:

    serves them right for scamming. I wonder if walmart will take the matter of selling empty boxes seriously. Also were the men too tied up in their own plan to scam that they didn’t notice the box felt empty? This is simply poetic.

  11. Overheal says:

    This is another argument for not buying ultralight laptops.

  12. LibertyReign says:

    Wait a minute…I just noticed something..there are actually people out there trashy enough to buy food and laptops @ Wal-Mart?

    Oh yeah…we’re Americans.. stupid question *embarrassed*

    • NotYou007 says:


      So I should go to Hannaford and pay 3.79 for the same frozen Stouffers meal that cost me 3.16 at Walmart? That makes me trashy because I basicly get one free from Walmart when I purchase 5 of them. I would spend 3.15 more for 5 of them at Walmart. Same product, but Walmart is 63cents cheaper per item.

      I have no need for a laptop but if I needed one and found one I liked at Walmart for a good price. I would purchase it as well. I’m sure my purchase of a digital coax cable though along with food makes me trashy enough in your eyes.

      • NotYou007 says:


        I would pay 3.15 more at Hannaford. Not Walmart. My mistake. You are still a huge idiot LibertyReign.

      • mackjaz says:

        @NotYou007: I don’t mean to intrude on your flamewar, but by way of genuine answer to your question…

        Yes, Wal-Mart IS different. They are substantively contributing to the decline of this country by underpaying and mistreating employees, fueling job exports overseas, putting good American companies out of business, feeding us lowest-bid Chinese lead-laced food and baby toys. If you pay taxes, YOU are paying for Wal-Mart employees’ health care, since the giant mega-profitable corporation only covers the old white guys in Benton, Arkansas.

        Oh, and – NotYou007? You could probably get your point across better without the sarcasm. You’re not gonna win any arguments here like that.

      • LibertyReign says:



        I think that the mercury in your fake fish has soaked into your brain!

        Keep eating lead and mercury. I think you might still have a few IQ points to abandon.

    • trujunglist says:


      I guess if you shopped at Target you’d be refined enough to sip your Coke through a straw instead of straight from the can.
      When I shop at Food 4 Less because the prices are cheaper than any other place anywhere near here, should I be ashamed that I have less worth than trailer trash (only the truly degenerate shop at Food 4 Less) or should I be happy that I saved money?
      I go to swap meets all the time to buy my fresh produce at insanely cheap prices.. does that make me trailer trash or a savvy shopper?
      Get real; just because you get all your chocolate from Godiva stores doesn’t mean your shit doesn’t still smell like shitty Godiva.

      • trujunglist says:

        @NotYou007: @trujunglist:

        By the way, that was directed at LibertyReign, not you, NotYou.. not you not you not you

        • NotYou007 says:


          Well I do shop at Target as well. I purchased my Sony LCD HDTV at Target and yes, I know your comments where not directed at me. We can be trash together because we choose to save money. I don’t shop at Save A Lot, which is the white trash store because they don’t carry the items I enjoy. I’m lucky enough to make decent money and I could shop at Hannaford and sometimes I do but it pains me to purchase the same thing for a lot more money when I know how much cheaper it is at Walmart but if that makes me trashy, so be it. I’ll be a trashy white boy.

      • tweemo says:

        “I guess if you shopped at Target you’d be refined enough to sip your Coke through a straw instead of straight from the can.”

        Funny. No ban please.

      • LibertyReign says:


        save your money..and eat like shit… keep buying and CONSUMING Chinese goods.. and keep getting less and less healthy and more and more enslaved by communism..

        It’s YOUR RIGHT AS AN AMERICAN, to be TRASHY and ignorant!

    • junkmail says:

      @LibertyReign: Why the hell aren’t you banned yet?

      • LibertyReign says:


        Because the moderators live for witty, intelligent, politically incorrect comments like mine..

        I love how you are all proving my point that AMericans are overgrown child-like tumors on society..

        SHouldn’t you be shopping for lead-soaked food and Chinese imported knick-knacks?

    • 2copper says:


      Why are people who buy food and or laptops from Wal-Mart automatically trashy? Going to Wal-Mart does not make a person walking through the door a tasteless un-educated dolt. Just like walking through the door of Rodeo Drive shop will not make me a movie star. Wal-Mart fills a need for the budget consumer that needs to part with the least amount of money for their purchase. The last thing that I have to say is that Wal-Mart must be doing something right since they are one of the largest corporations on the planet. I agree there are some bad stories, but with a company that large will have some problems with bad managers. Everyone complains about the government, but it’s not like we can stop shopping there!

      • LibertyReign says:


        I buy EVERYTHING from locally owned stores who sell locally grown produce, and dairy and animals raised on LOCAL farms. I never shop at ANY of the companies that anyone has mentioned here. I will order my food and products from a company I endorse over the internet before I take the convenient way out and walk into a Wal-Mart or Target. That’s just me. You certainly have the right to use your dollar in any way you see fit. Just don’t claim that you hav eno choice. You have a choice. You choose to be indifferent.

    • HogwartsAlum says:


      I HAD to go to Wal-Mart last night when my printer cartridge quit in the middle of a huge job, because Staples (slightly cheaper, actually) wasn’t open that late.

      I’m glad I could get a cartridge there. Otherwise I would have had to wait a whole day to print out my edit copy. :D

      • LibertyReign says:


        I plan ahead on items that need to be replaced often. I buy computer parts and accessories wholesale over the internet and buy replacement parts and supplies BEFORE they run out so there is no waiting or even any driving necessary. I also cut down on usage of such products because I don’t like sending dollars to Asia.

        • jackal676 says:

          @LibertyReign: But apparently you don’t mind sending dollars to the Middle East, since your internet goods leave quite the oil footprint as they’re sent across the world and across the country for your convenience. Surely you could dig up some locally made computer parts. This guy Jimmy down the street, he’s a whiz with a soldering iron; I’ll hook you up.

        • HogwartsAlum says:


          That’s nice. I guess you don’t have anything else to do.

    • rushevents says:


      LibertyReign = Stupid.

    • AvisPhoenix says:

      @LibertyReign: @LibertyReign:
      For your information: I am a college student, I participated in the Disney college program over the last semester, for which you get paid minimum wage and housing is taken directly from your paycheck which leaves you with very little to buy food with let alone go out or do anything else like put gas in your car. The closest/cheapest place to buy food was…. WAL-MART! Guess where I shopped….WAL-MART! Sometimes its not really a choice, its a necessity.

      P.S. Mass insults aren’t nice, you should be embarrassed

  13. junip says:

    it sounds like the men bought the laptop from the actual store, since the store discovered that they had sold him an empty box. that being said: wouldn’t you notice that the box felt a little light?
    maybe they were to busy being nervous criminals to notice the weight?

    I ran into a guy trying to buy a gift card for like $400 or something like that when I was working at an apple store. The credit card was real, it had his name on it. He showed me his driver’s license when I asked and his picture and name matched. I swiped the card, checked the last 4 digits of the number on my screen to match the card, and guess what! It didn’t match! I told him my point of sale was “being weird” and said I would go ask for help. I kept the gift card in hand as the transaction had already gone through and couldn’t be reversed, and he ran for the front door lickity split. Gave the receipt and gift card to my manager and they filed a report, voided the transaction. happy day for the person that owned that card number.

    • Lepoth says:

      @junip: Assuming that they were using skimmed cards, they should have had no reason to be nervous. The cards themselves would’ve had their names and the correct numbers on them. It sounds like they were just stupid.

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @junip: Just so I have this straight.
      At an Apple store, they’ll try to stop credit card thieves, even if it means missing a sale. Then try to pursue the matter to the extent that thieves hurl themselves out the door, thus saving some poor, innocent victim.
      While at Wal-Mart, they’ll cheerfully ring damned near anything through and only call the police if Wal-Mart thinks it is being scammed, not to protect customers or victims of credit card scams.

      Sort of says all you need to know, donchathink? :D

      Props on your response, of course. You’re a retail hero!

  14. mechanismatic says:

    It wasn’t a mistake. Wal-Mart only sells expensive laptop boxes anymore. It’s a loss prevention policy.

  15. cubsd says:

    Turns out, Wal-Mart is so bad, even thieves shouldn’t shop there.

  16. ninjatoddler says:

    Wal-Mart. Our no discrimination policy ensures we screw everybody up. Even the bad guys.

  17. ironchef says:


  18. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    Why is this not on Fark yet?

  19. Jonbo298 says:

    Wouldn’t you be able to notice the box is extremely light if there wasn’t a laptop in it? Not that I’m defending the scum, just pointing out the obvious.

  20. Hate_Brian_Club_I'mNotOnlyThePresidentI'mAClient says:

    I don’t know if the two exactly offset each other, the guys who bought the laptop with the stolen credit cards are looking at jail time while Wal-Mart will continue selling empty boxes, treating honest customers like criminals and causing a huge hassle with returns without any legal penalties.

    • NotYou007 says:


      I know they sell some lightweight laptops these days but most of those that are sold at Walmart are far from light. They are not high end laptops and if you cannot tell a laptop is in the box from just picking up said box. As them to open it.

      Has common sense gone out the door that much in todays world?

  21. INsano says:

    A million monkeys on a million typewriters…

  22. FuryOfFirestorm says:

    I’m just waiting for Ashton Kutcher to pop up with a camera crew any minute now…

  23. LittleEnosBurdette says:

    “Stupid is as stupid does…”

  24. Trick says:

    And what if the idiots didn’t have stolen credit cards?

    Wal*Mart sold an empty box then calls the police on the buyer. Real nice.

    Great scam Wal*Mart has going and of course nobody gets arrested there. Buy something with a stolen credit card, go to jail.

    Rip your customers off then call the police on them.

    Win… Win…

    • dweebster says:

      @Trick: Yeah, the odds of this ONLY happening to these guys is pretty slim. Wonder how many legitimate customers have been ripped off receiving an empty box…

      If I was ever stupid enough to buy a laptop at Walmart AND managed to receive an empty box (it must have had SOMETHING inside to feel heavier than air), they had better not call the po-po if I contact them to complain.

    • DiscipleRyan says:

      @Trick: I’m guessing if the card wasn’t stolen, Wal-Mart would have stuck to their guns and brick-walled the customer. Why should they believe someone trying to return an empty box? Anyone can buy something, take it home, then come right back with an empty box.

      I realize that retailers are at fault sometimes but who can tell the difference between the store ripping off a customer and a customer ripping off a store in these cases?

      I think it would be a good idea to open the box and check your goods before you check out if you can get away with it.

  25. QueenHawkeye says:

    I guess karma does go around.

  26. mythago says:

    Did somebody advise the thieves they should contact the credit card companies for a chargeback?

  27. Adisharr says:

    You won’t find me buying anything at Walmart. They’re a great example of a mega-corporation that could care less about anything except maximizing their wealth at all costs.

  28. NumberFourtyThree says:

    If the thieves hadn’t panicked they probably wouldn’t have gotten the credit card situation exposed. In any case, I don’t know why they bothered coming back with it when they were using stolen credit cards in the first place, and thus the empty box didn’t cost them anything. It would have been safer just trying to buy another laptop somewhere else with their stolen card numbers.

  29. fisherstudios says:

    Ah yes, Wal-Mart. Our favorite store. They were the victims of fraud – all of their anti-fraud checks and balances totally failed.

    Then they sold an empty box.

    Finally when the fraudsters complain about being sold an empty box Wal-Mart lets them get away.

    At least they are not still selling Nazi paraphernalia. Or… are they?

  30. Angryrider says:

    Hahaha… Now send them all to jail.

  31. aliasmisskat says:

    How does Walmart know they sold an empty box? It’s a popular scam at Walmart- buy something, return the box stuff with newspapers or something, and hope the clerk doesn’t open it. That’s why Walmart is seriously uptight about returning big ticket items. Not that Walmart doesn’t do it’s share of screwing the customer, but plenty of people try to scam them.

  32. ARPRINCE says:

    I vote this to be the STORY OF THE YEAR! lol

  33. ranchgal says:

    poetic justice

  34. mike says:

    I think it’s funny that the criminals came BACK to Walmart to complain that they only got an empty box. Let’s face it: even if they did get a laptop with the box, they would have STILL brought it back because they are just that ballsy/stupid.

  35. bonzombiekitty says:

    If you’re gonna sell something stolen on e-bay, make sure there’s nothing distinguishing about it.

    My company makes a specific piece of hardware that’s used in cell phone towers. We’re the only people who make this particular item, it’s very expensive, can only be used if licensed by us, and it’s useful only if the rest of our system is in place. Imagine our surprise when we found a piece of this hardware available for sale on e-Bay.

    A worker for *large cell phone company* found one in a warehouse, stole it, and tried to sell it on e-Bay. Guy got fired, arrested, and *big cell phone company* got an extra bill from us due to some contract violation.

  36. AMetamorphosis says:

    Karma is a wonderful thing …

  37. jrubow says:

    I used to work at 7-11. I was just ending my shift and getting ready to leave. The person replacing me was in her early 20’s and a customer was getting a bit belligerent about something so I step in to help not wanting to leave her alone with angry customers since there weren’t too many other people there. The guy at the register claimed he had given her a $100 bill and that he was short changed. I explained to him several times that we can’t keep money in our register and that the money was in the safe that we don’t have access to. I let him know he could come back tomorrow between x – x and speak with a manager who is able to open the safe. He demanded his change and I again told him the same thing and that I have no way to verify.

    At this point the guys friends try and get him to leave as they didn’t want to make a scene. I at this point tell the guy that if he doesn’t leave I will call the police and have him escorted off our property. He thought I was bluffing so I called the police. At this point the guy now realizes I wasn’t lying so he leaves. Well at this point the police are on their way and our store was just 1 block from the police station, so they were there right away. One of the police officers talk to the guys and another comes in and talks to us. While questioning the guys they get suspicious of something and ask them to sit on the curb. While one police officer searches the car the other watches.

    After searching the car for a few minutes one of the officers comes in with a drug identification kit and a small bag of white substance. After testing it a couple times it turns out its meth. So now all the guys are arrested and taken to jail and their car is towed.

    Well it doesn’t end there, the next day one of officers comes in to talk to me and verify what happened and to tell me what had happened with the guys. Well the car was stolen, they had drugs on them, and they were all in the US illegally. Oh and for those who are wondering they were not short changed. The guy had given us a $50.

  38. dweebster says:

    So, two things to take away from this article:

    1) Thieves can clone your credit card and use it(happened to me – someone buying gas in a state I had never been to).

    2) Walmart defrauds purchasers of big ticket items and calls the police when you let them know about it.

  39. badhatharry says:

    This is like returning a knife because it broke when I cut a fool.

  40. mgy says:

    One of my coworkers, who sells Apple computers received a phone call today from a very upset father wanting to know, even though he had specifically asked whether everything he needed was in there, why his iMac box contained “only” the keyboard, mouse and monitor.

  41. RossSheep says:

    Hey look at me… I’m posting something on the internet that won’t change a thing.

    It’s not Wal-mart that sucks its the consumers at Wal-mart. I dare you to not smell the poverty at any Wal-mart.

    Most people hate on Wal-mart because they are the shining example of capitalism. They deliver goods at the lowest prices available, pay their employees what they are worth and not a penny more, and continue to help families that are on limited budgets with their low prices.

    As for the health care program… it should never be the employer’s or the government’s responsibility to provide medical service to any private citizen.

  42. DonataPhocus says:

    Wow, what a debacle. Two degenerate parties trying to do business with one another. I’m not surprised this happened at Walmart, though — They probably got the computer from some corrupt, garbage facility in China.

  43. cccdude says:

    I would never/ever/under *any* circumstance buy a computer from any big box retailer (even the sacred Costco). Buy ’em from Dell or direct from the manufacturer. That way, you know you’re getting a new unit because any returned ones have to be sold through their online outlet stores. You are also likely to end up with less craplets installed.

  44. Sakura77 says:

    Sounds like the shallow end of the gene pool needs some chlorine…………

  45. CharlotteGabulous says:

    LOL Pwn! Lmfao Walmart really out did themselves with this one. Oh and I feel bad for that one comment up there about buying a new laptop and it was USED!? Come on! What is up with Wal-mart? God. Anyway now you know—-NEVER buy your electronics at Wal-mart. Even if it costs you to go to the extra mile it’ll be worth it in the end—rather then getting an empty box or of course a used laptop,thats just wrong. Their obviously technology retarded. But like the person about the used laptop said before,if the ticket said it could be returned 45 days later!!! You COULD of fought them off with this,people just get afraid when dealing with these people who only want to fuck you up. They only had returned it 6 hours later. Anyway glad to hear they got the money back. -Digi

  46. SacraBos says:

    WalMart is simply practicing that old adage – No Honor Among Thieves.