Is Costco Calling You to Offer a $500 Credit? Think Again!

Image: MGN Online

Con artists are continuing to find sneaky ways to scam consumers out of their hard-earned money. This time they’re putting a new twist on the classic phone scam by claiming to be a representative from Costco. Consumers have reported receiving phone calls from a phony Costco representative offering a $500 Costco Cash Card or Costco Travel Credit in exchange for completing a brief survey. During the survey, consumers are asked for extensive personal information that may later be used to commit identity theft.

If you receive a call like this, block the phone number immediately. Best practice is to not pick up the phone if you are not familiar with the number – if it is important, they will leave a message. Be sure to report the call to the Better Business Bureau and Federal Trade Commission to help shutdown the scam operation.

Consider the following tips to help spot a fake voucher scam:

  • Look up the website on WhoIs. Right click on the link and select “Copy Link Address.” Then, paste this destination URL into the WhoIs.net directory. This directory will tell you when and to whom a domain is registered. If the URL is brand new, or if the ownership is masked by a proxy service consider it a big warning sign of a scam.
  • Watch out for look-alike URLs. Scammers pick URLs that look similar to those of legitimate sites.

Be wary of sites that have the brand name as a sub-domain of another URL (i.e. brandname.scamwebsite.com), part of a longer URL (i.e. companynamebooking.com) or use an unconventional top-level domain (the TLD is the part of the name after the dot).

  • Legitimate businesses do not ask for credit card numbers or banking information on customer surveys. If they do ask for personal information, like an address or email, be sure there’s a link to their privacy policy.
  • Watch out for a reward that’s too good to be true. If the survey is real, you may be entered in a drawing to win a gift card or receive a small discount off your next purchase. Few businesses give away $100 gift cards just for answering a few questions.

Source: Better Business Bureau of North Alabama

If you would like to report a scam, call your BBB at 256-533-1640 or go to the BBB Scam Tracker. To find trustworthy businesses, visit bbb.org.