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Fraudster Jailed in Million Dollar Gift Card Scheme

An arrest in Rogers, Arkansas this week of a Chinese man unveiled details of a multi-million-dollar, national scam using Walmart gift cards, according to court records.

Investigators with Walmart Global Investigations and the US Secret Service asked for help from area police after watching Songhua Liu complete more than $16,000 in gift card transactions Monday at Walmarts from Fort Smith to Rogers, according to a probable-cause affidavit in Songhua’s arrest.

The fraud scheme involves a variety of phone and internet scams in which people are enticed to buy Walmart gift cards. They share the cards’ bar codes digitally with the scammers who send couriers, such as Songhua, to Walmarts around the country, according to the document.

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The courier scans the bar code at a self-checkout to buy prepaid debit cards or other gift cards, according to the affidavit. Then the courier takes pictures of the prepaid debit cards and gift cards, and sends them to others involved in the scheme.

“We care about our customers and are continually looking at how we can better protect them from evolving scams,” Tara Aston, a spokeswoman for Walmart, said Friday. “We actively work with local and national authorities, and will refer additional questions on this case to them.” Songhua was arrested Tuesday after… Democrat Gazette

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