In November 2018, a survey scam was spread via Facebook purporting to offer free $75 Costco coupons in celebration of the company’s 50th anniversary to users who clicked particular links and then followed the instructions found there:
The scam provided links which led to web pages (which were not operated or sponsored by Costco) that displayed a Costco logo along with entreaties such as “You have been selected to take part in our short survey to get a Free $75 Costco Coupon! We only have 332 Coupons remaining so hurry up!”
Users who followed instructions were then led into a set of pages prompting them to input a fair amount of personal information (including name, address, e-mail address, date of birth, and phone numbers), complete a lengthy series of surveys, and finally sign up (and commit to paying) for at least six “Reward Offers” that usually involve applying for a credit card or signing up for some sort of paid subscription service.
Those intent upon snapping up free stuff via such lures should keep in mind that there is often a further downside to the process beyond their personal disappointment and the financial enrichment of the scam artists preying upon their gullibility: All too often such adventures in clickjacking also result in the download of trojans and other viruses onto the computers of those looking to score the promised goodies.
Costco themselves says of such schemes that:
There are numerous posts circulating on Facebook stating that we are giving away $100 to $1,000 Costco Cash Cards to all Facebook users. While we love our fans and members, Costco is not giving away Costco Cash Cards to Facebook users, and is not associated with this program.
The Costco $150 coupon offer is a variation of the company anniversary survey scam, a ploy that also depends on the unwary unwittingly promoting the phony coupon to their social media friends:
These web pages (which are not operated or sponsored by the companies they reference) typically ask the unwary to click what appear to be Facebook “share” buttons and post comments to the scammer’s site (which is really a ruse to dupe users into spreading the scam by sharing it with all of their Facebook friends). Those who follow such instructions are then led into a set of pages prompting them to input a fair amount of personal information (including name, age, address, and phone numbers), complete a lengthy series of surveys, and finally sign up (and commit to paying) for at least two “Reward Offers” (e.g., Netflix subscriptions, credit report monitoring services, prepaid credit cards)[.]