Be vigilant with social media offers

Published 5:51 am Friday, November 15, 2019

Very recently an offer, appearing to be from Costco, offered those that shared it on Facebook a $75 coupon. A great deal one might think, but at the end of the day the coupon was a scam.

Those interested in the coupon — and let’s face it, who doesn’t want a $75 coupon to their favorite store — were required to share the post and then input personal information.

According to, a similar scam started circulating last year at this time celebrating the company’s 50th anniversary, which it wasn’t.

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First and foremost, Costco cycles legitimate deals through their website and won’t accept coupons that are not issued by Costco, which in this case is tough, because it looks extremely convincing.

Now would be a good time to remind people to be extremely skeptical of any deal shared through Facebook or Twitter or any other social media platform. These sites are entertaining, but they also carry with them rivers of misinformation, scams and blatant lies.

These scams will not go away and during this holiday season you could see more and more of these.

Along with this skeptical eye, we urge people to fall back on this simple philosophy — if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. On the heels of this, those interested in possibly taking advantage of these super offers should put in the work to verify this is a legitimate deal. Normally, a general search will offer up the evidence you need to turn these deals down.

When we did a Google search for “Costco $75 Coupon,” we found 477,000 hits, and while not all of those 477,000 hits are related to this specific subject, the entire first page was dedicated to stories exposing this as a scam.

We also encourage you to visit places like the Better Business Bureau and its Scam Tracker.

And finally, be wary of anything online that asks for personal information. That’s what the scammers are looking for and once it’s out there, it’s out there. There is no amount of scrubbing that will clear the troubles that will be on the horizon.

Sure, it may not seem like money hasn’t been taken from your bank account, but the personal information is now in the scammer’s hands and according to Mower County Steve Sandvik, that information will be used to open things like personal lines of credit in your name.

“A lot of people think that because their bank account didn’t get emptied, they just didn’t get a prize, but they got your personal information,” Sandvik said.

We’ve probably all fallen for one thing or another on the internet through Facebook and similar sites, but now more than ever vigilance and due diligence are needed so we can remain safe through our browsing.

If you have questions about something — ask them.

Sandvik urges those that have been scammed to report it. The reality is, their money might be gone, but through reporting the scam there is a chance the chain can be broken.

“We know full well the majority of people who are scammed won’t report it, which is scary,” he said. “They feel it is hopeless, but we do want reports so we can forward them to the state and national level.”

Report a possible scam

If you think you’ve been scammed and would like to report it then visit the Better Business Bureau at or contact local law enforcement by calling 507-437-9400 and selecting option 1.