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Costco seem to have been running a promotion to give the first 35 thousand… wait no, 40 thousand, no, 45 thousand, followers a $100 gift card to any of their nationwide locations. The changing goals were a ploy to gain more followers. Hat tip to Ellen Streiff for image below depicting the constantly changing goals. This would seem like ill advised social media tactics, but digging a bit deeper, it turns out to be a case of brand jacking.

Ellen_Streiff_Costco_Scam

Inquirers on Facebook received an official answer than they are not giving away any cards. This leaves one to conclude that the account is bogus. This was in fact a scam, but not by the hand of the brand. We can add this one to the growing book of hijacked brands.

Screen Shot 2013-09-22 at 9.08.50 PM

UPDATE:

The account has now reached beyond 150,000 followers, still changing the goal every 5 thousand. That amounts to a lot of people being duped by a fake brand presence. This not only hurts the Costco brand, but also Instagram. For a network that has had privacy issues in the past, they do not seem to be too concerned with brand jacking. Their T&C’s state that profiles must be real and have rights to images used. This “Costco” account is neither real, not has rights to use the Costco logo. So where is the action being taken to protect users by Instagram?

I’ve tweet Instagram asking this very question. Waiting for a response…

The team at Rawporter, a company that stands to help content creators fight against plagiarism and keep the integrity of their content, noted that the CostcoOfficial account also follows IKEAOfficial, which is running the same scam.

9/26 – Instagram has shutdown CostcoOfficial. However, there are still many other “official” accounts running similar scams. Follow with caution.