SAN DIEGO (CBS Local) — Text messages claiming to offer “goodies” from big box chain Costco as part of a “COVID-19 stimulus package” for the store’s “loyal customers” are not only fraudulent, but they also include links that may contain malware or ransomware, the FBI says.
“$110 goodies from Costco! That’s our stimulus package for Costco loyal customers,” states an example of one of the scams, which then prompts the recipient to click a link and complete a survey.
The scam refers to the massive $2 trillion relief package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Security (CARES) Act, that President Trump signed last week.
“The FBI is warning the public that Costco is NOT texting (or using social media platforms) the public or its customers to provide a ‘stimulus check,’ ‘freebies,’ or a ‘stimulus package,’” the FBI San Diego office said Monday. “These messages, containing a malicious link, are a SCAM. Do NOT click on the link.”
The #FBI warns of fraud scheme messaging the promise of money, i.e., “stimulus check” from retailer, Costco, and provides a link, containing malware, ransomware or other fraudulent methods to steal identity, financial or other personal information. https://t.co/A2RafYZ637 pic.twitter.com/RgY5e5xUPO
— FBI San Diego (@FBISanDiego) March 31, 2020
FBI officials have been warning the public for weeks about an influx in scams and frauds related to the novel coronavirus.
Other types of scams include the sale of bogus N95 respirator masks, gloves and goggles, as well as emails purportedly sent from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to an FBI press release issued March 20.
“Scammers are leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money, your personal information, or both,” the press release stated. “Don’t let them.”
Victims of Internet scams or cyber crimes, or anyone wanting to report suspicious activity, make a report with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov.