Top Back-to-School Phishing Scams (Costco, Walmart, Kohl’s & CVS)

Top Back-to-School Phishing Scams (Costco, Walmart, Kohl’s & CVS)iStock

Looking to save some cash on back-to-school supplies? Don’t get tricked by these latest back-to-school scams that have been circulating via text message and email or you could end up compromising your personal and financial information! Read on to learn how to stay protected.

Costco Text Phishing Scam

Hoping to lure people onto their malicious website, scammers have been impersonating Costco and sending out text messages promising people cash prizes and Costco gift cards if they fill in a “quick form”. An example of one of the messages is below.

SMS Content:

  • Costco 🍎””Back to School””🏫. Make this school year a big deal. Today we are giving to anyone that helps us better our services. $70 🤑 guaranteed when you finish this quick form . <URL>

The URL — which is in all the messages and removed from the example message above — leads to the scam survey website below.

back to school scam_Costco Text Survey_20220826

Victims are told they’ve won a prize, instructed to take a short survey, then asked to fill in lots of personal and financial information under the pretense that they need to do so to receive the prize.

back to school scam_Costco Text Survey_20220826_2

Of course, the prize is not real — it is all just a ruse so the scammers can steal people’s valuable information. Any information entered onto their malicious websites will be sent directly to them, and they won’t hesitate to use it to commit any number of cybercrimes, including identity theft.

Back-to-School Email Phishing Scams (Walmart, Kohl’s, and CVS)

We’ve also noticed the scammers impersonating several other well-known companies in similar back-to-school phishing scam campaigns that have been circulating via email.

The idea is the same as the Costco scam example above: tell people there is a back-to-school campaign and that they can claim a prize by completing a survey. Once again, of course, none of the advertised prizes are real — the scammers are only after victims’ personal and financial information.

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Walmart back-to-school scam email
back to school scam_KOHLs email_20220826
Kohl’s back-to-school scam email
back to school scam_CVS Pharmacy email_20220826
CVS back-to-school scam email

Fortunately, at the time of writing, the websites that all three of the scam emails above lead to are offline. However, this doesn’t mean that the scammers won’t relaunch those scam websites or create new ones in the future, so keep an eye out!

How to Protect Yourself

  • Be highly suspicious of unsolicited messages.
  • Typos and strange wordings are dead giveaways of scams.
  • Free gifts and prizes are always a major red flag.
  • Use Trend Micro Check to detect scams with ease — for FREE!

Trend Micro Check— our 100% FREE browser extension and mobile app — can protect you against scams, malicious websites, dangerous emails, and lots more! If you come across something dangerous online, you’ll be alerted in real time so you’ll know to stay well clear.

After you’ve pinned the Trend Micro Check extension, it will block dangerous sites automatically! (Available on Safari, Google Chrome, and Microsoft Edge).

TMC_CTA_Extension_2022

You can also download the Trend Micro Check mobile app for 24/7 automatic scam and spam detection and filtering. (Available for Android and iOS).

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Check out this page for more information on Trend Micro Check.

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