The company said a ‘bad actor’ was responsible
While Walmart is based in the US, the email was also sent to people in the UK.
One UK-based recipient of the email told The Independent she is unsure why she received the email as she is not signed up to Walmart.
In its statement, Walmart said a “bad actor” had created fake Walmart accounts using real email addresses and changed their first names to a racial slur.
As a result, an auto-generated “Welcome to Walmart” email containing the slur was sent to the email addresses.
It is unclear how the actors found the email addresses of those who were targeted, and how many fake accounts were created. Walmart said its systems had not been hacked and no customer data was compromised.
The company has also issued email apologies to those who were targeted by the breach, calling the email “offensive and unacceptable”.
“I am reaching out to let you know we are very sorry that you received an offensive and unacceptable email. We discovered that someone outside of the company created false Walmart accounts with the intent to offend our customers.
“We know the email was appalling and strongly believe those words should never be used,” the company said, adding that all new accounts created under the breach will be automatically deleted.
Walmart said that it is working to update its account sign-up process to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen again, and looking into “all available means to hold those responsible accountable”.