Walmart’s Spark, a rapidly expanding delivery platform, has come under scrutiny for a major identity fraud issue, according to drivers and employees. Spark, which has tripled its delivery-driver workforce over the past year, is reportedly dealing with drivers operating under multiple names, a practice that has raised safety concerns and sparked allegations of fraud. In response, Walmart is rolling out a facial-recognition and ID-scan system to verify identities and prevent further fraudulent activities.
Mike Del Rio, a Spark driver, started noticing an alarming trend earlier this year. Despite waiting for hours, he was not getting any delivery assignments, while the same few drivers seemed to be receiving and delivering order after order. He soon discovered that some drivers were delivering under different names on different days, even operating two Spark apps simultaneously on separate phones. Multiple accounts across the US echoed his observations, pointing to an increasing number of drivers using multiple accounts to secure more orders and earn more money on the Spark app.
Walmart’s Delivery Platform Spark Faces Identity Fraud Issues
Walmart’s in-house delivery platform, Spark, has seen a significant increase of drivers over the past year, tripling its workforce. However, it’s grappling with a unique issue: delivery drivers operating under multiple names. Walmart is in the process of rolling out a facial recognition and ID-scan system to verify identities and prevent fraud.
Drivers Gaming the System
Mike Del Rio, a Spark driver, started noticing a worrying pattern. A handful of drivers repeatedly came in and out of the parking lot, receiving and delivering orders, while others, like him, sat idle. Del Rio discovered these drivers were using multiple accounts to receive more orders, thus increasing their earnings. Other Spark drivers across the U.S. have reported similar observations.
This issue is not just an internal problem. It also poses a threat to customer safety, as there are drivers delivering orders who might not be who they claim to be. Several drivers, who wished to remain anonymous due to fear of retaliation, reported this issue, but the company’s response has been inadequate, according to them.
In a statement, a Walmart spokesperson said that Spark takes fraudulent activity seriously and has implemented several enhancements to prevent it. The company encourages drivers to report any concerns so that it can investigate and take appropriate action.
Launched in 2018, Spark has grown significantly. Walmart’s CFO, John David Rainey, revealed that Spark now serves customers in all 50 states at over 10,000 pickup points, making it the company’s largest local-delivery-service provider.
New Verification Process
According to several drivers, Walmart’s inconsistent policies across different stores have exacerbated the issue. Some stores verify drivers’ IDs before handing out orders, while others don’t. However, Walmart is currently rolling out a new verification process which requires drivers to periodically take pictures of themselves through the Spark app to verify their identity.
While Walmart’s efforts to tackle the fraudulent activity on its Spark platform are commendable, the effectiveness of these measures remains to be seen. The company needs to ensure it is doing everything it can to protect both its drivers and its customers from potential fraud. This situation serves as a reminder to all businesses operating in the gig economy that security measures and proper vetting processes for contractors are essential.