Was Walmart hacked? N-word sent to customers in welcome mail, retailer apologizes

In screenshots shared by customers, the mail goes something like this: 'Welcome to Walmart, [N-word]!'

                            Was Walmart hacked? N-word sent to customers in welcome mail, retailer apologizes
An image of the sign for Walmart as photographed on March 16, 2020 in East Setauket, New York (Getty Images)

In a shocking turn of events, certain Walmart customers were extended the retail giant's hearty welcome with the N-word. The Arkansas-based company received massive social media flak on May 25 after customers were sent mails using the racial slur, replacing their names with the N-word. When shocked customers raised outrage, Walmart issued an apology claiming an 'external bad actor' was behind the scenes and assured they were going to beef up security. 

In screenshots shared by several customers on Twitter, the mail goes something like this: "Welcome to Walmart, [N-word]!" Among the many who received those emails was Rachel Campbell of Scotland who claims she doesn't even shop with Walmart. In the email Campbell has since shared with Business Insider, her name can be seen swapped out with the N--word. In her tweet explaining the incident, Campbell had shared, "I literally cannot believe someone has used my email address to make a Walmart account and put the name as somethin horrifically racist. Not only is that bad I’m in SCOTLAND. I can’t even shop Walmart and can’t delete the account even though I managed to change the password."


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Was Walmart hacked?

Campbell further told the outlet that when she checked the Walmart account listed with her email address, she found that she was listed under the racial slur instead of a proper name. "They used my email but not my name, sadly it was a terrible slur," she told Insider on Monday. "I thought it was fake too until I actually went on the Walmart website and managed to get into the account and saw the name I realized it was completely real." Campbell added that she was "completely shocked" that Walmart's even allowed users to register with offensive slurs.

Other users who faced the same issue tweeted about how they got Walmart to take these fake accounts down. One user replying to Campbell's tweet shared, "This happened to me too. First I used "forgot password?" to change the pw and the horrible racist name on the account associated with my email address. Then through help chat I got them to delete the account." Walmart has since assured that all these fake accounts with offensive names will be deleted from their end, but they aren't aware of who is responsible for the incident. The company however insists it was not one of their employees and maintains they were not hacked, per se.


Walmart to tighten security

Walmart also wrote to Business Insider confirming the incident sharing that someone had indeed used names to create fake accounts before sending those horrid mails. The company told the outlet they were "shocked and appalled to see these offensive and unacceptable emails." A spokesperson added, "We discovered that an external bad actor created false Walmart accounts with obvious intent to offend our customers. We're looking into our sign-up process to ensure something like this doesn't happen again. We're also looking into all available means to hold those responsible accountable."

In that, Walmart clarified that although they require a CAPTCHA test to ensure signing-up customers are not bots, there's no email-verification process currently. As the company assures they will amp up security, Walmart also apologized to Campbell for the disaster in a mail signed by the company's chief customer officer Janey Whiteside which also mentioned they were "looking into all available means to hold those responsible accountable."