Costco, Walmart Christmas delivery scam emails trigger computer virus

DENVER - A holiday-themed email scam claims your order from Costco or Walmart was canceled because of an address error, but clicking on the link inside the email triggers a download that could infect your computer.

The email seems official, but a careful eye will notice the Costco company's logo is slightly wrong. The image inside the scam email is missing the three parallel, horizontal blue lines beside the word "Wholesale."

The Walmart logo is also wrong. It is missing the yellow star that usually appears to the right of the company's name.

The next sign to raise suspicion is that the email doesn't come from a Costco.com or Walmart.com address. The companies own their own domain names, but the scam email comes from a different address.

Inside the email, another link is hidden behind a fake order number and a link that says, "Complete this form."

If a recipient falls for the trick and tries to correct their delivery information, the link triggers the download of a .zip file.

Several digital security blogs report that the file download contains a piece of software. 7NEWS confirmed the link triggers a download, but did not allow the download to proceed in order to protect our computer.

7NEWS will not reprint any of the URL addresses connected to the scam, to prevent facilitating the spread of the malicious software, but we did check the registration of the domain that sent the Costco email. It was registered to a man in Lake Placid, Florida. We called him and he said he was unaware this particular email address even existed within his domain.

The owner said he would call hosting service 1&1 Internet Inc. Tuesday to investigate further.

The domain that hosted the malicious download file was registered to a business in the Netherlands.

The Walmart scam email comes from a domain registered to someone in France.

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