BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Purchasing pre-paid debit cards may have hidden dangers. A local woman says she lost out on hundreds of dollars.
Tammi Cote is at wit's end. She bought two Walmart MoneyCards worth $500 each to take on a trip to Hawaii, next month. But when she tried to activate the first of the cards over the phone, she had no luck.
"I went to try and activate it, and you have to peel the sticker off the front of the card, which is covering the numbers," she said.
Cote tried again and again, without success, and then called Walmart. They told her to contact Green Dot Corporation, which issues the cards, but she never got to speak to a human being.
Cote returned to Walmart with her two cards the next day, spending more than an hour with store associates. She said they even unsealed Cote's other card and tried to activate it themselves, and they couldn't do it.
At that point, Cote says a supervisor at Walmart called Green Dot's California headquarters, on a three-way call, and found out someone outside the country had stolen her thousand dollars electronically before she even got home.
"Green Dot told us that the card, the money from my card, was transferred to another card in Jamaica," Cote said. "Less than 30 minutes after I purchased the card."
She filed a report with Amherst Police. When we asked a manager at the Walmart store on Sheridan Drive about Cote, we were told it is not a Walmart problem, it is a police matter.
Cote lamented, "And nobody will help me, nobody will give me my money back. I told Walmart, I gave you my cash. What do you mean, it's not your problem?"
After getting the answers we did at the Sheridan Drive store, we contacted Walmart's corporate offices in Arkansas and learned this is not an isolated incident.
A Rhode Island woman, we'll call her "Annie," is one of dozens of consumers who bought Walmart MoneyCards and never got their money's worth. Annie put her tax refund, $2,000, on her money card and mysterious charges started showing up coming out of Pennsylvania.
"There is videotape proof that it was another person, not me, making these purchases. I don't understand why I haven't had my money, yesterday," Annie said.
Walmart's corporate offices in Arkansas referred News 4 back to Green Dot.
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