Costco Voucher Scam – Revived Every Few Months (Since 2011)

The Costco Voucher Scam is a relatively simplistic approach to getting people to give up their personal information, to skimming some money off the top and to generally messing up their computers. With that in mind, calling this one a three-pronged attack on decency, using gullibility and greed as delivery vehicles, would not be far-fetched at all. What is there to know about the Costco Voucher Scam though?

The scam apparently took off in 2011, using Facebook as a vehicle. While it is generally believed that it cannot be linked to an actual URL (like most other scams), that is not true. In fact, there are several URLs which are used and re-used for the scam. In this regard, we have to point out, and more recently: While the legitimacy of these destinations is indeed quite questionable even at first glance, still, many people fall for the pitch.

How exactly does the Costco Voucher Scam work though?

The first version of the scam, dating back to 2011, took the form of a Facebook-borne survey, which promised those who filled it out, $1,000 gift cards. The spreading mechanism of the scam was meant to be viral: people were encouraged to share the “offer” with their friends, in addition to taking part in it themselves. Commenting was also encouraged on the pages set up on a web domain such as the above-mentioned three. Indeed, due to these viral triggers (and due to the fact that it was new and unknown), the first version of the scam was quite “successful.”

People who clicked the Facebook link were taken to websites bearing the Costco and Facebook logos, which were obviously NOT operated by any of the two corporate entities. There, they were presented with a survey and they were asked to provide their personal information to qualify for the “deal.” The requested personal information included details such as name, email addresses, phone numbers and home addresses. In a word: enough to steal one’s identity if it comes to that.

The information was requested after the victims completed a lengthy series of surveys, and were thus committed enough to go through with this last step, despite its obviously suspicious nature. At the end of it all, one was also required to commit to pay for a Reward Offer, or rather, for 6 of them. These offers included credit card applications and various paid subscription services. In the end, most victims realized they had been swindled, but besides personal disappointment and some financial loss, the scam had other surprises in store for them too.

Malware and viruses were also part of package, and they were downloaded to the victims’ computers when they accessed the above mentioned unsavory web destinations.

In 2012, the scam resurfaced, promising $500 gift cards that time around, once again counting on greed and gullibility to spread and to infect as many computers as possible. Needless to say, scores of people ended up falling for it again.

In 2014, the third coming of the scam promised just $200 to would-be victims, if they shared and liked the “offer” on Facebook. Yet again, people fell for it hook, line and sinker, despite the fact  that Costco had long put out statements effectively debunking the scam and making it clear that they were not – in any shape or form – pushing such offers.

In September, 2017, yet another variation of the same scam took off, taking advantage of Costco’s 41st anniversary. This time around, the scammers promised $41 off a $50 purchase. Obviously, once again, victims were dragged through various surveys and were requested to give up their personal information to a bunch of shady online marketers, for a voucher that never existed.

So, how do you know that you’re dealing with a scam when you run into something like this?

After all, this same Costco swindle will probably surface in the future in a slightly tweaked form.

First off, be very skeptical when you run across a “deal” offering any kind of free money in your newsfeed, especially if it is something shared by a friend (and even if it is an actual ad). Take a look at the official Facebook page of the company that allegedly offers this deal, or its official website, and see if you can find any information there about the offer. You may be surprised and instead of a confirmation, you may actually run into a debunking of the offer there.

After you click the Facebook link, you are transferred to the scammers’ website. Take a good look at this site. Often, these sites feature copy with poor grammar, and a generally ad-hoc look/feel, despite waving into your face the logos of the companies that purportedly sponsor the deal. Sometimes the voucher itself is full of grammatical errors.

Last but not least, the age-old adage that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is indeed just that, holds true here as well.


Do not click an offer shared by one of your Facebook friends that looks too good to be true. Also, remember that the only official site of Costco is, and none of the above mentioned URLs. Be aware that this scam is not limited to Costco alone: there was one going around, featuring a similar “deal” from Aldi.

Even if the offer seems very legit and credible, at the very least, make a bit of an extra effort and run a Google search on the actual name of the “promotion.” If something is fishy about it, people are indeed eager to share that information.


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