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Costco Gift Card

Claim:   Free $500 or $1,000 Costco gift cards for all Facebook users.

FALSE

Examples:

[Collected via e-mail, December 2011]

Get Costco Gift Card for FREE! (limited time only)

[URL elided]

Costco is currently giving away $1000.00 gift cards to all facebook users!!..
 

[Collected via e-mail, March 2012]

Get a FREE $500 Costco Gift Card for FREE! (limited time only)

[URL elided]



 

Origins:   In December 2011, a survey scam purporting to offer free $1,000 Costco gift cards to those who follow particular links then do as told once there spread via e-mail and Facebook. In March 2012 the scam reappeared, that time touting "Get a FREE $500 Costco Gift Card for FREE! (limited time only)."

Both versions provided links which led to web pages (which were not operated or sponsored by Costco) that displayed a Costco cash card along with entreatiers either to "Get a $100.00 Get Costco Gift Card for FREE!" or "Get a FREE $500 Costco Gift Card for FREE! (limited time only)," plus an embedded countdown counter purporting to display a rapidly reducing number of gift cards to be had. These pages asked the unwary to click what appeared to be Facebook "post to profile" and "like" buttons.

Folks who followed such 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.

Other recent survey scams of similar construction include:
  • $50 or $100 Starbucks gift cards [October 2011]
  • $25 Tim Hortons gift cards [October 2011]
  • Apple iPods, iPhones, or MacBooks in memory of Steve Jobs [October 2011]
  • $100 Walmart Christmas gift cards [November 2011]
  • A pair of Southwest airline tickets [November 2011]
Last updated:   12 March 2012

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