Text messages claiming to offer “freebies” for Costco Wholesale members as part of a “COVID-19 stimulus package” are fraudulent, and the links included in the messages may contain malware or ransomware, the FBI said.
FBI officials have been warning the public for weeks about an influx in scams and frauds related to the novel coronavirus.
“Scammers are leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money, your personal information, or both,” FBI Special Agent Davene Butler, a spokeswoman for the agency’s San Diego field office, said in a statement.
One of the newest scams is the one using text messages and social media posts claiming to be from Costco and offering free money, Butler said.
“The FBI is warning the public that Costco is NOT texting or using social media platforms to reach the public or its customers to provide a ‘stimulus check,’ ‘freebies,’ or a ‘stimulus package’ as shown in these fake messages,” Butler said in a Tuesday statement.
The links in the messages contain malware, ransomware “or other fraudulent methods to steal identity, financial or other personal information,” according to Butler.
The FBI is warning the public to not click on this type of unsolicited link, and to not provide personal information in unsolicited texts and emails.
Previously, the FBI warned the public to be wary of fake emails from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; phishing emails asking for personal information in order to receive an economic stimulus check from the government; and fake treatments for COVID-19.
Victims of Internet scams or cybercrimes, or anyone wanting to report suspicious activity, can make a report with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov.