Scammers Trick Costco Members into Sharing Personal Information in Exchange for Financial Benefits
Costco has posted a warning to its customers regarding prominent scams targeting loyal members in order to steal personal information. They posted 14 known scams, claiming to come from Costco, some more convincing than others.
Customer Satisfaction Surveys
This is not an uncommon promotion among legitimate companies, making its simplicity a clever cover for targets who don’t pay close attention to sender email addresses and don’t have the time to cross check the promotion.
Facebook 35th Anniversary Giftbox Promo
This is a fraudulent post promising a Christmas Food Box to customers who tag and share the post. The point of scams like this one have a main purpose of mass propagation in order to gain access to more profile pages, thus more personal information. As is evident in this particular example, the main focal points that the general population is encouraged to keep an eye on, such as source page, appears to check out at first glance.
Survey Participation for a $500 Gift Card
Being told that this is a monthly promotion has an interesting effect on individuals by removing the “why” from the target’s mind. A random promotion raises more eyebrows than one that is consistently planned out. The bottom of the survey offers an unsubscribe link as well as a legitimate address in New York City. However, this address is not to a Costco office or wholesale location.
“Loyalty Reward” Text Message
This message is less legitimate in appearance than the previous examples, however still easily tricks recipients. Especially if the target is not expecting any deliveries, it is tempting to click on the link out of concern or curiosity. It is far safer to check a membership portal or email for confirmation emails or purchase history.
Reimbursement Text Message
Similar to the last example, this text message appeals to an attentive consumer who would immediately jump on the opportunity to rectify an overcharge issue. It is not everyone’s first instinct to check a credit card or bank statement without checking a link.
Job Interview Confirmation
In exchange for personal information, this fake job listing targeted the many Americans who faced unemployment with the COVID-19 shutdowns. These clever emails answer many questions that most mass phishing emails don’t answer, which would normally help a target discern a legitimate email from an illegitimate one.
These are but a few of a long list of known scams which include several giveaway promotions, COVID-19 relief packages, etc. The complete list of known scams include:
- Fraudulent Satisfaction Survey
- Fraudulent Facebook Post
- Fraudulent Survey
- Texts Regarding Loyalty Reward
- Overcharge Reimbursement Texts
- Survey with Exclusive Offers
- Free Television
- Coronavirus Stimulus
- Exclusive Giveaway
- Fake Interview Confirmation
- Fraudulent Executive Rewards Redemption
- Citi Rewards Direct Deposit Scam
- Redeem your gift card!
- Supermarket Customer Sweepstakes Raffle Draw
What should we look out for to avoid compromising personal information?
One very important thing to look out for is the source email address. We should look at whether or not the email was sent from an official Costco email address. It is easy to create a false email such as [email protected], where the company’s name is in the email address but is not in the website. Some scammers may not even try to cover their tracks in this way and use a completely foreign email address.
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Another important step is to avoid all links until it is confirmed through Costco themselves or through credit card or bank statements.
A general rule is to avoid providing any personal information online without confirming the source and reason for the request. To read more on how to go about opening and interacting with emails, see 5 Tips to Identify a Phishing Email Scam or Safe Internet Use Tips.