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The truth about that free Costco voucher

Have you seen a voucher offering you cold hard Costco cash to celebrate the store's 41st birthday? Well, all is not as it seems.

Something for nothing—it’s the e-commerce, coupon-clipping dream, right?

Such is the hope of all the people who clicked on a supposed voucher celebrating Costco’s 41st birthday, purported to then translate into a free cash card for anywhere from $50 to $200. Alas, it’s a big fat scam.

The coupon claims that if you click on the ad, and then share it on Facebook and comment on it, you’ll be richly rewarded with oodles of cash you can spend on bulk toilet paper, nicely-priced watches, giant jugs of laundry detergent, or massive jars of peanut butter.

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According to the helpful web sleuths at Snopes.com, all you’re going to get is sent to a set of pages that then prompt you to input all sorts of personal information (including name, address, email address, date of birth, and phone numbers), then complete a lengthy series of surveys and finally sign up (and commit to paying) for at least six “Reward Offers” that usually involve applying for a credit card or signing up for some sort of paid subscription service.

Turns out, this scam has actually been around for a while, says the Snopes site, with it first appearing in October 2011, although back then it was for a cool $1000! Other variations have been for $200, and Costco itself has made it clear that while they love their shoppers, it’s not true.

For now, the only freebies to be had are just the in-store food samples that many frequent Costco habitués know and love.

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