Last week, the FBI announced that fraudsters are sending out bogus text messages offering stimulus checks or packages to loyal Costco customers.
Consumers all across the U.S. should be aware that Costco Wholesale is not giving out stimulus checks or other goodies to customers. Scammers most likely modelled this scheme around the previous government grant scam circulating before the U.S. authorities passed the coronavirus relief bill.
“Costco is NOT texting (or using social media platforms) the public or its’ customers to provide a “stimulus check,” “freebies,” or a “stimulus package.” These messages, containing a malicious link, are a #SCAM. Do NOT click on the link”, said the San Diego FBI office in a recent tweet.
Different versions of the scam have appeared online and, although the stimulus packages range from $100 to $130, customers are required to fill out a survey.
“$100 bounty from Costco! That’s the stimulus check for Costco loyal customers: a7es[.]info/7tkxz6CbFh fill in survey in return please!”
“$110 rewards from Costco! That’s the stimulus check for Costco loyal customers: a7es[.]info/7tpzJW7i05 fill in survey in return please!”
“$130 freebies from Costco, that’s our Covid-19 stimulus package for all loyal Costco members! a6er[.]info/7KpuB2cVtG fill in customer survey in return please”
In times of need, it’s easy to fall victim to these scams, and similar hoaxes are bound to pop up in coming weeks. The resilience and craftiness of fraudsters will continue to rise, and we need to remain vigilant and follow our common sense:
• Never click on links that offer you free gifts or money in return for filling out a so-called survey or paying for postal service
• Do not interact with individuals on social media that offer you an easier or faster way to get your stimulus checks
• Don’t provide your personal information in online forms or via phone calls
• Report any suspicious activity or fraudulent messages to the authorities
While you might be tech savvy and aware of emerging scams and cyber threats, it’s a good idea to spread the word to your friends and family members. Raising awareness is the first step in limiting the number of victims and safeguarding your personal information and hard-earned money.
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