Preventing Fraud

Keeping our customers' personal information secure and confidential is one of Costco Wholesale's highest priorities. Below are some of the most common types of scams and suggestions on how you can be aware and help protect yourself against identity theft.

Fictitious Job Offer Emails
Phishing and Spoofing
Pop-up Advertisements
Check Scam
Fraudulent Phone Calls
PayPal Phishing Scam
What Can You Do?

FICTITIOUS JOB OFFER EMAILS

We are aware that someone has launched an email campaign advising individuals that Costco Wholesale is offering or may offer them a job. The emails can be quite authentic-looking. They contain a subject line such as "Provisional Job Offer," and purport to have been sent directly from one of our executives or from our human resources department. Enclosures, such as company information sheets and detailed questionnaires, may display the Costco Wholesale logo. The emails may include a request for payment of a processing fee of several hundred dollars and/or they may offer reimbursement for certain job-application or relocation expenses.

These emails are fraudulent. Costco Wholesale does not extend job offers via email to individuals with whom it has had no prior contact. We do not ask prospective employees to pay a fee to be considered for a position or to receive a job offer. We do not authorize recruiters or agents to do any of these things on our behalf. Although we sincerely regret that anyone may have been deceived by these fraudulent job offers, we will not honor them in any way.

You should not respond to any of these job offers by revealing personal information, nor should you send any funds in response to them. If you receive one of these fraudulent offers, please report the matter to the U.S. Secret Service.


PHISHING AND SPOOFING

It is an unfortunate fact of the Internet that at any given time there are numerous illegitimate pop-up ads, surveys, websites, emails, social media posts and advertisements that purport to be from or authorized by Costco. It is unlikely that Costco is affiliated with these promotions. Rather, their purpose is to entice you to disclose personal information such as the following:
  • Name and address
  • Social Security Numbers
  • Credit card numbers / bank account numbers
  • Pin numbers / passwords
They may also ask you to purchase something that may or may not be delivered to you.

We’ve provided some tips below to help you determine a promotion is authentic.
  • Unsolicited electronic communications from Costco do not ask for your personal information such as username, password, credit card information, birth date or Social Security number. Never provide personal information in response to an electronic communication.
  • If in doubt about a website, cut and paste it into a browser rather than clicking on a link in an email or text.
  • If you receive an order confirmation for something you did not order from Costco.com, do not click on any links or open any attachments. 
  • If you receive a communication that looks like it is from Costco, check to see who sent it. Be aware of typos and misspellings and, in particular, of return addresses and contact links that do not end with a plain “@costco.com.” When in doubt, don’t respond.
  • Be particularly cautious of pop-up solicitations, job-finding sites, and opportunities to win Costco Cash Cards.
  • Review the terms and conditions of any Costco-related app before downloading to ensure that the app is a genuine Costco app, created and supported by Costco.

This is not an exhaustive list of the many ways you might become a victim of fraud or overreaching practices. The best policy is to stop and think before you click. Delete any questionable emails and texts, and be suspicious of any posts or ads with offers that are too good to be true. Visit https://www.stopthinkconnect.org for up-to-date advice about web safety and security.

POP-UP ADVERTISEMENTS

Some advertisements "pop up" in a separate browser window advising that you have won a contest or request that you participate in a survey to collect a prize. They may then ask that you provide personal information in order to receive your gift. By clicking on the link it is possible that you are also downloading viruses designed to capture or destroy information on your computer.


CHECK SCAM

A similar but low-tech scam circulates occasionally, in the form of a check, purportedly from Costco, and instructions to deposit it right away, usually in order to receive the balance of a larger sum you have "won" or that has otherwise come to you unexpectedly. You will be instructed to immediately send a payment, in the form of a second personal check, wire transfer, or similar, to some third party to cover taxes, processing fees, administrative costs, or some similarly vague expense. The check you received in the mail likely will look quite authentic, and probably has our Costco Wholesale trademark on it. Do not deposit the check or follow the instructions you receive with it. The check you deposit will bounce; the check you write or funds you wire will clear, before you know about the bounce, and certainly before you can effect stop payment on your own check.


FRAUDULENT PHONE CALLS

We have received reports of both members and non-members being contacted in an apparent phone scam / phishing scheme attempting to collect personal information. The caller offers either a $500 Costco Travel credit or Cash Card as a reward for completing a survey or a reduced price travel package in exchange for providing some personal information. The fraudsters may be using software to show a local phone number on caller ID but hide the real phone number the calls are originating from.
 
Please know that these are fraudulent calls attempting to obtain personal information. These are in no way affiliated with Costco or Costco Travel. If you believe you have provided these callers your personal information, we recommend that you take appropriate steps such as notifying the consumer credit reporting agencies, signing up with a credit monitoring service, reporting it to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) or possibly the police if you believe your identity has been stolen. Additional information can be found here: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0076-phone-scams.

PAYPAL PHISHING SCAM

Our Legal Team has been investigating reports of phishing emails that appear to be sent by PayPal regarding a Costco.com flower order. Members have been understandably concerned when they don’t recognize the order or the recipient's information.

Costco is not affiliated with these fraudulent emails and the emails don’t reference a legitimate order. Furthermore, we don’t accept PayPal as a payment method in our warehouses or on Costco.com.

We believe these emails have been sent to entice you to disclose personal information and/or to purchase something that may or may not be delivered to you. If you’ve received one of these emails, please delete it immediately and do not provide any personal information to the sender.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  • Never respond to emails that cannot be verified.
  • Never provide personal information via e-mail.
  • Contact the business by using legitimate phone numbers to verify the request.
  • Enter websites using your browser and not by clicking on provided links.
  • Be cautious of any solicitation requesting that you deposit a check or pay a fee to collect a prize, get a job, or cover vaguely described "costs."
  • Consider filing a report with the Federal Trade Commission and/or state attorney general's consumer protection office, or the FBI. Online complaints may be filed with the FTC at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/, and white collar crimes may be report to the FBI at //www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx.

Please contact us to report any suspicious emails or contacts that are using the Costco Wholesale name.

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