Online scams are on the rise, and unsuspecting victims are falling prey to the fraudulent schemes, resulting in significant financial losses. Recently, there has been a surge of fraudulent ads on Facebook and YouTube purporting to be from the well-known wholesaler, Costco. These ads advertise an Outdoor Electric Bike with a 48V/15Ah lithium battery for only $29, which is a fraction of the bike’s actual retail price. When clicked, the ads lead users to fake online stores, which offer the bike at the advertised price, only to disappear with the users’ money. In this article, we will discuss the details of this scam and how to avoid falling victim to such fraudulent schemes.
How the scam works
The Costco Electric Bike scam is a fraudulent scheme that aims to lure unsuspecting consumers into making a purchase on a fake website that appears to be affiliated with the reputable retail chain Costco. The scam starts with an ad that appears on YouTube and other online platforms that feature the Costco logo and advertise an outdoor electric bike with a 48V/15Ah lithium battery for only $29, which is significantly lower than the bike’s actual retail price. The ad claims that the bike comes with a 5-year warranty and features a product image that appears to be of high quality.
A screenshot of the scam ad that ran on Facebook and YouTube:
When users click on the ad, they are redirected to a fake online store that appears to sell the same bike at the advertised price. The fake online store mimics the design of a legitimate Costco website, including the use of similar fonts, colors, and imagery, to convince users that the offer is authentic. However, the website’s URL may contain misspelled words or additional characters, which is a red flag indicating that the site is not genuine.
An example of a Costco Scam URL in Address Bar:
The fake online store uses a range of tactics to create a sense of urgency and persuade users to make a purchase quickly. This includes fake countdown timers, urgency messages, and limited-time offers. The site may also feature fake customer reviews to further convince users of the legitimacy of the offer.
When users attempt to purchase the bike, they are asked to enter their payment details, including credit card information. The scammers behind the fake online store then use this information to make unauthorized purchases or withdraw funds from the victim’s account. In some cases, the scammers may also steal the victim’s identity, which can lead to significant financial losses and even long-term damage to the victim’s credit score.
The Costco Electric Bike scam is part of a larger trend of online scams that target unsuspecting consumers with fraudulent ads and fake online stores. At the moment, if you search Google for “Outdoor electric bike with 48V/15Ah,” you will find hundreds of fake stores offering this product, including Mirouz.com, which was recently reported as a fraudulent website.
These fake online stores use similar tactics to the Costco Electric Bike scam to lure unsuspecting victims. They create ads that feature low prices and claims of high-quality products to entice users to click through to their websites. Once users are on their sites, they use persuasive messaging and tactics to convince users to make a purchase.
To avoid falling victim to the Costco Electric Bike scam and other similar scams, it is crucial to be vigilant when making online purchases. Always verify the legitimacy of the website you are purchasing from, and be wary of too-good-to-be-true offers. Conduct thorough research before making any purchases, and avoid giving your payment details to untrustworthy online stores. Finally, if you encounter any fraudulent ads or suspect that an online store may be a scam, report it to the relevant authorities or platforms to prevent others from falling victim to these scams.
Examples of such scams
As the Costco Electric Bike scam demonstrates, online fraudsters are increasingly using sophisticated tactics to deceive consumers and steal their money. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident, and there are many other scams similar to this one that are targeting unsuspecting victims. Below, we will highlight some other examples of scams that you should be aware of to help you avoid falling victim to these malicious schemes. Here are some other scams that are similar to the Costco Electric Bike scam: PIONEER FLAME MINI TRIKE for $29.99, DEWA BEST CORDLESS COMBO KIT for $50, Swagtron EB-6 Bandit E-Bike for $89, 3V Aramid Fiber Electric Bicycle for $60, and Drone with 6K UHD Camera for $9.90.
Remember, always be cautious when making online purchases and take steps to protect yourself from online scams.
What To Do if You Were Scammed
If you have been scammed by the Costco Clearance Sale Electric Bike Scam, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself:
- Contact your bank or credit card company. If you used a credit card to make the purchase, contact your credit card company immediately and dispute the charge. They may be able to reverse the charges and investigate the transaction.
- Report the scam. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/. This will help law enforcement agencies track and shut down the scammers.
- Contact the manufacturer. If you are unsure whether the product is genuine or not, contact the manufacturer of the real product to confirm whether the online store you used is authorized to sell their products.
- Monitor your financial accounts. Keep a close eye on your bank and credit card statements to make sure there are no unauthorized charges or suspicious activity. If you see any, report it immediately to your bank or credit card company.
- Stay vigilant. Scammers are always coming up with new tactics to deceive consumers, so it’s important to be cautious when making purchases online. Do your research, verify the authenticity of the product and the legitimacy of the online store, and only purchase from reputable sources.
Remember, prevention is key when it comes to protecting yourself from online scams. Stay informed and stay vigilant to keep your personal and financial information safe.
|Name||Costco Clearance Sale Electric Bike Scam|
|Type||Online shopping scam|
|Fake claims||Offers non-existent product at a very low price|
|Scammers’ websites||mirouz.com, jartor.shop, canyonk.shop, gertsd.shop, jibee.us|
|Damage||Financial loss, identity theft|
|Distribution methods||Social media, YouTube, fraudulent online stores|
|Prevention Tips||Research before making purchases, verify authenticity of products, be cautious of low prices, use secure websites and payment methods, don’t give out personal information, be wary of unsolicited emails/messages|
|Reporting Info||File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at ftc.gov/complaint, contact bank/credit card company to dispute charges, monitor financial accounts, contact manufacturer to confirm authorized sellers|
How to spot and avoid such scams
To avoid falling victim to scams like the Costco Clearance Sale Electric Bike Scam, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Before making a purchase, research the product and the seller. Look for reviews and ratings, and check the seller’s website for information about their return policy, shipping information, and contact details.
- If you’re unsure whether a product is genuine or not, contact the manufacturer to confirm whether the seller is authorized to sell their products.
- Scammers often lure consumers with low prices that are too good to be true. If the price seems too low for a product, it’s likely a scam.
- Look for the padlock icon in the URL bar and “https” in the website address. This indicates that the website is secure and your personal and financial information is encrypted.
- When making online purchases, use a credit card instead of a debit card. Credit cards offer more protection against fraudulent transactions, and you can dispute charges with your credit card company.
- Be cautious of websites or sellers that ask for personal information beyond what is necessary to make a purchase.
- Don’t click on links in unsolicited emails or messages, and be wary of emails that ask for personal or financial information.
In conclusion, it is crucial to remain vigilant when shopping online to avoid falling victim to scams such as the Costco Electric Bike scam. Always be cautious when making purchases from online stores, and verify the legitimacy of the website before providing any personal or financial information. Keep an eye out for red flags such as offers that seem too good to be true, fake customer reviews, and misspelled or suspicious website URLs. If you have been scammed, report it to the relevant authorities immediately and take steps to protect yourself from further financial harm, such as contacting your bank or credit card company. By staying informed and taking the necessary precautions, you can help prevent yourself from becoming a victim of online fraud.