This blog post has been made in order to best explain what is the Costco Gift Card scam, how you can detect it, remove it and how to avoid it.
Yet another scam, this time using Costco as a way to cheat users has been detected. The scam aims to convince users that they have the chance to claim a Costco Gift Card, but to do that, they need to fill out a survey or enter their personally identifiable information and financial credentials. The scam was detected to target users via both e-mails and likely via adware or other unwanted software too. If you are seeing banners and pop-ups related to the Costco Gift Card (Cash Card) scam, we strongly suggest that you read this article as it contains more information on this scam and instructions on removing the adware likely causing it.
The Costco Gift Card scam may be replicated in a variety of ways, similar to other [wplinkpreview url=”https://sensorstechforum.com/1000-walmart-gift-card-scam-virus-get-rid/”]gift card scams of it’s type. One method of distribution which we detected is a banner that is sent to victims directly via e-mail. The banner is very well crafted and with a well-written and convincing message:
In addition to via e-mail, the Costco scam may also be shown as an advertisement on the web pages visited by the user, if those web pages belong to sites which are with bad reputation.
Furthermore, another very likely method via which you may have started seeing Costco Gift Card pop-ups lately could be due to an adware currently residing on your computer. These programs often find themselves automatically added on your computer as a result of software bunlding. This means that they may be included in the installers of freeware programs that are published for download on some third-party sites from the Softpedia or CNET type, but with low reputation. These sites usually tend to add third-party programs of all kinds without any responsibility if they are adware or not. The programs are often presented as “free extra” or “optional offer” to the current installation process. This is why users are advised to be extremely careful while installing programs and always check all of the install steps, even the ones In the “Advanced” or “Custom” installation mode.
Costco Gift Card Scam – More Information
The Costco Gift Card scam banners and redirects are very likely shown as a result of having adware on your computer. The outcome of such unwanted program is that you not only see the Costco Gift Card offers, but you also see other forms of advertisements as well, such as:
Ad-supported search results.
Highlighted text ads.
Furthermore, if your system has been compromised by adware, you may also experience slow downs in performance and not only this, but the adware may also track you through the web pages it shows you. One of those web pages is the Costco Gift Card scam page. It may use the following technologies to see what you are doing online:
These tracking technologies may remain on your computer even if you have deleted the toolbar or program, causing the ads to appear on your computer.
But let us set this adware aside and turn our attention to the Costco scam. The gift cards offered in the banners often look differently and they may come as browser redirects. The most popular ones which we have detected appear like the following:
What is common between the pages above is that all of them aim to request information from you via various surveys that ask for specific details about you, such as:
Personal ID number.
Credit card number or IBAN.
If you see any survey requesting this information about you for a certain prize, be very aware of the negative impact that may have on you. Surveys that are shown, offering Costco Gift Cards as a reward are known and reported to be a scam, so any information you type may be sent directly to the scammer via the tracking methods we have just stated above. They can see where you click and what you type even after you close the scam window, because the tracking technologies may still remain on your computer. The main risk as a result of that is that you may become a victim of either identity or financial form of theft.
Remove Costco Gift Card Scam – Related Adware
The Costco Gift Card scam may be spread via adware and it may definitely use tracking technologies, like cookies that remain on your computer, so it’s removal is advisable. You can look for extensions and programs manually by following the manual removal steps below. If you still see ads however or cannot remove the cookies, related to these scam pages, security experts recommend to remove the Costco Gift Card scam by using an advanced anti-malware scanner program. Such software are usually created with the main purpose to help you into detecting and removing all Costco Gift Card scam objects and the program will also make sure that these unwanted programs do not spread to your computer in the future.
Ventsislav is a cybersecurity expert at SensorsTechForum since 2015. He has been researching, covering, helping victims with the latest malware infections plus testing and reviewing software and the newest tech developments. Having graduated Marketing as well, Ventsislav also has passion for learning new shifts and innovations in cybersecurity that become game changers. After studying Value Chain Management, Network Administration and Computer Administration of System Applications, he found his true calling within the cybersecrurity industry and is a strong believer in the education of every user towards online safety and security.
1.2 After you have installed SpyHunter, wait for it to update automatically.
1.3 After the update process has finished, click on the 'Malware/PC Scan' tab. A new window will appear. Click on 'Start Scan'.
1.4 After SpyHunter has finished scanning your PC for any files of the associated threat and found them, you can try to get them removed automatically and permanently by clicking on the 'Next' button.
If any threats have been removed, it is highly recommended to restart your PC.
Step 2: Boot Your PC In Safe Mode
2.1 Hold Windows key + R
2.2 The "Run" Window will appear. In it, type "msconfig" and click OK.
2.3 Go to the "Boot" tab. There select "Safe Boot" and then click "Apply" and "OK".
Tip: Make sure to reverse those changes by unticking Safe Boot after that, because your system will always boot in Safe Boot from now on.
2.4 When prompted, click on "Restart" to go into Safe Mode.
2.5 You can recognise Safe Mode by the words written on the corners of your screen.
Step 3: Uninstall and related software from Windows
Here is a method in few easy steps that should be able to uninstall most programs.No matter if you are using Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista or XP, those steps will get the job done. Dragging the program or its folder to the recycle bin can be a very bad decision. If you do that, bits and pieces of the program are left behind, and that can lead to unstable work of your PC, errors with the file type associations and other unpleasant activities. The proper way to get a program off your computer is to Uninstall it. To do that:
3.1 Hold the Windows Logo Button and "R" on your keyboard. A Pop-up window will appear.
3.2 In the field type in "appwiz.cpl" and press ENTER.
3.3 This will open a window with all the programs installed on the PC. Select the program that you want to remove, and press "Uninstall"
Follow the instructions above and you will successfully uninstall most programs.
Step 4: Clean Any registries, Created by on Your PC.
The usually targeted registries of Windows machines are the following:
You can access them by opening the Windows registry editor and deleting any values, created by there. This can happen by following the steps underneath:
4.1 Open the Run Window again, type "regedit" and click OK.
4.2 When you open it, you can freely navigate to the Run and RunOnce keys, whose locations are shown above.
4.3 You can remove the value of the virus by right-clicking on it and removing it.
Tip: To find a virus-created value, you can right-click on it and click "Modify" to see which file it is set to run. If this is the virus file location, remove the value.
Video Removal Guide for (Windows).
Get rid of from Mac OS X.
Step 1: Uninstall and remove related files and objects
1.1 Hit the ⇧+⌘+U keys to open Utilities. Another way is to click on “Go” and then click “Utilities”, like the image below shows:
1.2 Find Activity Monitor and double-click it:
1.3 In the Activity Monitor look for any suspicious processes, belonging or related to :
Tip: To quit a process completely, choose the “Force Quit” option.
1.4 Click on the "Go" button again, but this time select Applications. Another way is with the ⇧+⌘+A buttons.
1.5 In the Applications menu, look for any suspicious app or an app with a name, similar or identical to . If you find it, right-click on the app and select “Move to Trash”.
1.6 Select Accounts, after which click on the Login Items preference.
Your Mac will then show you a list of items that start automatically when you log in. Look for any suspicious apps identical or similar to . Check the app you want to stop from running automatically and then select on the Minus (“-“) icon to hide it.
1.7 Remove any left-over files that might be related to this threat manually by following the sub-steps below:
Go to Finder.
In the search bar type the name of the app that you want to remove.
Above the search bar change the two drop down menus to “System Files” and “Are Included” so that you can see all of the files associated with the application you want to remove. Bear in mind that some of the files may not be related to the app so be very careful which files you delete.
If all of the files are related, hold the ⌘+A buttons to select them and then drive them to “Trash”.
In case you cannot remove via Step 1 above:
In case you cannot find the virus files and objects in your Applications or other places we have shown above, you can manually look for them in the Libraries of your Mac. But before doing this, please read the disclaimer below:
Disclaimer! If you are about to tamper with Library files on Mac, be sure to know the name of the virus file, because if you delete the wrong file, it may cause irreversible damage to your MacOS. Continue on your own responsibility!
1: Click on "Go" and Then "Go to Folder" as shown underneath:
2: Type in "/Library/LauchAgents/" and click Ok:
3: Delete all of the virus files that have similar or the same name as . If you believe there is no such file, do not delete anything.
You can repeat the same procedure with the following other Library directories:
Tip: ~ is there on purpose, because it leads to more LaunchAgents.
Step 2: Scan for and remove files from your Mac
When you are facing problems on your Mac as a result of unwanted scripts and programs such as , the recommended way of eliminating the threat is by using an anti-malware program. SpyHunter for Mac offers advanced security features along with other modules that will improve your Mac’s security and protect it in the future.
Click the button below below to download SpyHunter for Mac and scan for :
Step 1: Start Google Chrome and open the drop menu
Step 2: Move the cursor over "Tools" and then from the extended menu choose "Extensions"
Step 3: From the opened "Extensions" menu locate the unwanted extension and click on its "Remove" button.
Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Google Chrome by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.
Erase from Mozilla Firefox.
Step 1: Start Mozilla Firefox. Open the menu window:
Step 2: Select the "Add-ons" icon from the menu.
Step 3: Select the unwanted extension and click "Remove"
Step 4: After the extension is removed, restart Mozilla Firefox by closing it from the red "X" button at the top right corner and start it again.
Uninstall from Microsoft Edge.
Step 1: Start Edge browser.
Step 2: Open the drop menu by clicking on the icon at the top right corner.
Step 3: From the drop menu select "Extensions".
Step 4: Choose the suspected malicious extension you want to remove and then click on the gear icon.
Step 5: Remove the malicious extension by scrolling down and then clicking on Uninstall.
Remove from Safari
Step 1: Start the Safari app.
Step 2: After hovering your mouse cursor to the top of the screen, click on the Safari text to open its drop down menu.
Step 3: From the menu, click on "Preferences".
Step 4: After that, select the 'Extensions' Tab.
Step 5: Click once on the extension you want to remove.
Step 6: Click 'Uninstall'.
A pop-up window will appear asking for confirmation to uninstall the extension. Select 'Uninstall' again, and the will be removed.
How to Reset Safari
IMPORTANT: Before resetting Safari make sure you back up all your saved passwords within the browser in case you forget them.
Start Safari and then click on the gear leaver icon.
Click the Reset Safari button and you will reset the browser.
Eliminate from Internet Explorer.
Step 1: Start Internet Explorer.
Step 2: Click on the gear icon labeled 'Tools' to open the drop menu and select 'Manage Add-ons'
Step 3: In the 'Manage Add-ons' window.
Step 4: Select the extension you want to remove and then click 'Disable'. A pop-up window will appear to inform you that you are about to disable the selected extension, and some more add-ons might be disabled as well. Leave all the boxes checked, and click 'Disable'.
Step 5: After the unwanted extension has been removed, restart Internet Explorer by closing it from the red 'X' button located at the top right corner and start it again.
Remove Push Notifications from Your Browsers
Turn Off Push Notifications from Google Chrome
To disable any Push Notices from Google Chrome browser, please follow the steps below:
Step 1: Go to Settings in Chrome.
Step 2: In Settings, select “Advanced Settings”:
Step 3: Click “Content Settings”:
Step 4: Open “Notifications”:
Step 5: Click the three dots and choose Block, Edit or Remove options:
Remove Push Notifications on Firefox
Step 1: Go to Firefox Options.
Step 2: Go to “Settings”, type “notifications” in the search bar and click "Settings":
Step 3: Click “Remove” on any site you wish notifications gone and click “Save Changes”
Stop Push Notifications on Opera
Step 1: In Opera, press ALT+P to go to Settings.
Step 2: In Setting search, type “Content” to go to Content Settings.
Step 3: Open Notifications:
Step 4: Do the same as you did with Google Chrome (explained below):
Eliminate Push Notifications on Safari
Step 1: Open Safari Preferences.
Step 2: Choose the domain from where you like push pop-ups gone and change to "Deny" from "Allow".
It may slow your computer down significantly and display advertisements. The main idea is for your information to likely get stolen or more ads to appear on your device.
The creators of such unwanted apps work with pay-per-click schemes to get your computer to visit risky or different types of websites that may generate them funds. This is why they do not even care what types of websites show up on the ads. This makes their unwanted software indirectly risky for your OS.
What Are the Symptoms of ?
There are several symptoms to look for when this particular threat and also unwanted apps in general are active:
Symptom #1: Your computer may become slow and have poor performance in general.
Symptom #2: You have toolbars, add-ons or extensions on your web browsers that you don't remember adding.
Symptom #3: You see all types of ads, like ad-supported search results, pop-ups and redirects to randomly appear.
Symptom #4: You see installed apps on your Mac running automatically and you do not remember installing them.
Symptom #5: You see suspicious processes running in your Task Manager.
If you see one or more of those symptoms, then security experts recommend that you check your computer for viruses.
What Types of Unwanted Programs Are There?
According to most malware researchers and cyber-security experts, the threats that can currently affect your device can be rogue antivirus software, adware, browser hijackers, clickers, fake optimizers and any forms of PUPs.
What to Do If I Have a "virus" like ?
With few simple actions. First and foremost, it is imperative that you follow these steps:
Step 1:Find a safe computer and connect it to another network, not the one that your Mac was infected in.
Step 2:Change all of your passwords, starting from your email passwords.
Step 3: Enable two-factor authentication for protection of your important accounts.
Step 4: Call your bank to change your credit card details (secret code, etc.) if you have saved your credit card for online shopping or have done online activities with your card.
Step 5: Make sure to call your ISP (Internet provider or carrier) and ask them to change your IP address.
Step 6: Change your Wi-Fi password.
Step 7:(Optional): Make sure to scan all of the devices connected to your network for viruses and repeat these steps for them if they are affected.
Step 8:Install anti-malware software with real-time protection on every device you have.
Step 9: Try not to download software from sites you know nothing about and stay away from low-reputation websites in general.
If you follow these recommendations, your network and all devices will become significantly more secure against any threats or information invasive software and be virus free and protected in the future too.
How Does Work?
Once installed, can collect data using trackers. This data is about your web browsing habits, such as the websites you visit and the search terms you use. It is then used to target you with ads or to sell your information to third parties.
can also download other malicious software onto your computer, such as viruses and spyware, which can be used to steal your personal information and show risky ads, that may redirect to virus sites or scams.
The truth is that PUPs (adware, browser hijackers) are not viruses, but may be just as dangerous since they may show you and redirect you to malware websites and scam pages.
Many security experts classify potentially unwanted programs as malware. This is because of the unwanted effects that PUPs can cause, such as displaying intrusive ads and collecting user data without the user’s knowledge or consent.
About the Research
The content we publish on SensorsTechForum.com, this how-to removal guide included, is the outcome of extensive research, hard work and our team’s devotion to help you remove the specific, adware-related problem, and restore your browser and computer system.
How did we conduct the research on ?
Please note that our research is based on independent investigation. We are in contact with independent security researchers, thanks to which we receive daily updates on the latest malware, adware, and browser hijacker definitions.
Furthermore, the research behind the threat is backed with VirusTotal.
To better understand this online threat, please refer to the following articles which provide knowledgeable details.