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Costco Voucher Giveaway Like-Farming and Survey Scam

Circulating Facebook messages claim that users can get a $500 voucher from Costco by liking and sharing a picture, posting a comment and clicking a link.

Costco Like Farming Scam

© iqoncept

Brief Analysis
The message and associated Facebook Page has no connection to Costco and the claim that $500 vouchers are being given away is a lie. The message is a combined like-farming and survey scam designed to gather likes for a bogus Facebook Page as well as trick users into participating in bogus online surveys.

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To Sign up please complete the following steps:

Step 1. Like this picture
Step2. Share this picture
Step3. tell us what you want to buy!
Step 4. click here: [Link Removed]

That's all. You must complete all of the steps or you won't be registered. In 48 hours, we will announce 300 winners. Good luck!!

Costco Like Farming Scam

Detailed Analysis

According to this message, shopping giant Costco is giving away $500 vouchers to all Facebook users, supposedly to "celebrate $45 billion in revenue".  To receive the free voucher, users are instructed to like and share the promotional image, tell Costco what they would buy with the voucher and click a link pointing to an unidentified website.

However, the supposed promotion is fake. The bogus Facebook Page that the messages originate from has no connection to Costco and it is not giving away Costco vouchers as claimed. In fact, the Page is yet another like-farming survey scam. The genuine Costco Facebook Page has posted a comment explaining that they are not giving away the vouchers and have no association with the supposed promotion.

The bogus Page has two primary purposes:

1: To collect as many likes, shares and comments as possible.

Pages with high numbers of likes can later be renamed and used to market dubious products and services to a large audience. Sharing images and adding comments helps to further promote the fake Page thereby collecting even more likes. Once they have gathered a sizable number of likes, the Pages may be sold via the black market. The bogus Pages may also be used for other nefarious activities such as launching further spam and scam campaigns and tricking "winners" into divulging their personal information to scammers.

2: To trick users into participating in bogus surveys.

The link in the "final step" of the bogus promotion leads to a survey scam. Users are told that they must participate in one or more surveys before they will be eligible to receive their voucher. The surveys may offer the chance to win further prizes. But, no matter how many surveys users complete, they will never receive the promised voucher.

Some of the surveys request personal information including name, address and contact details, ostensibly to allow them to go in the draw for a prize. Others invite users to download suspect toolbars, games or software. Still others will claim that users must provide their mobile phone number - thereby subscribing to absurdly expensive text messaging services - in order to get the results of a survey or go in the running for a prize.

The people responsible for these scams will earn commissions via bogus affiliate marketing schemes every time a user completes an offer or participates in a survey. Victims may also receive large phone bills for unwanted mobile phone services and, because they have provided name and contact details, they may begin receiving large amounts of unwanted promotional emails and junk mail.

Like-farming and survey scams are increasingly common on Facebook. Don't fall for these scams. Be wary of any Page or message that claims that you can win expensive prizes just by liking and sharing. And, treat as suspect any promotion that claims that you must participate in a third-party survey or offer before receiving a promised prize.

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Last updated: July 29, 2013
First published: July 29, 2013
Written by Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

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