Important!! Please beware that there is a sharp increase during the Summer season (as well as around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years holidays) in king crab legs scam advertisements, as well as lobster tails, shellfish, seafood, steaks and other expensive speciality foods. Last year, multiple king crab leg scam ads were running on social media that were falsely advertising cheap King Crab Legs from “Costco” as well as other reputable wholesale clubs (Sam’s, BJ’s, etc) and well known specialty seafood retailers. Here’s what we’ve seen in the past, and some tips on how to spot the seafood scammers! Don’t get scammed!
TL;DR – PLEASE don’t click on any social media ads or other links advertising unreasonably cheap King Crab Legs, Lobster or Seafood from Costco or other retailers – if it’s too good to be true it is probably a scam! Instead of clicking the ad, open a new page in your browser and manually type the retailer website address and search for the item. If they’re really running a deal, it will come up.
Expect to pay OVER $30 per pound for King Crab or Lobster Tail. Anything less than that should throw up an immediate red flag, and you should be very wary of any ad offering to sell them for less. Check the current in-store of King Crab from Costco here.
Lobster Tail, Seafood & King Crab Legs Scam Ads
There were a number of scammers out there advertising King Crab Legs, Lobster tails and other coveted and expensive seafood around the holidays as well as during the summer bbq months last year. Some used Costco’s name, others used the Costco Logo (with a different generic name like “seafood department” and link to a false URL like “costcoseafood.com.”
Some have even used our website name and linked to our social media to try to make their fake sales website look more legitimate! Most often, we saw these ads on Facebook. The scammers are creative, their ads look real, and their “deals” allege deep attractive discounts…and they’re getting better and better at tricking consumers. So please read on for our tips and don’t get tricked!
As a reminder, we don’t sell anything here at CostContessa! If you see our name on any ad selling crab (or anything else), that’s a RED FLAG! And please screenshot it for us and send to us right away so we can help report the ads! (please and thank you).
Example of a Scam Ad Selling Seafood Using Costco’s Logo and Brand:
Here is a screen grab of scam Facebook Ad personifying Costco from last year – they all look a bit different, but to give you an idea of what you might see:
Red Flags to Identify a Costco King Crab Legs Scam Ads and Websites
- Website asks for or accepts PayPal or another electronic payment – Costco only accepts Visa
- Advertises an unrealistic price for seafood – remember shipping frozen item requires dry ice, and overnight shipping so it is expensive so it will cost MORE than the current in store price.
- Links you to any URL besides www.costco.com or other retailer’s official site
- Look out for long URLs (may include the real URL plus other keywords), gibberish urls, misspelled words like “krab.”
- Generally poor grammar in the description of the product or “About Us” page is a red flag – for example the ad above states “1-3 days for UPS cold transportation” which is odd grammar, and seafood would not be shipped with 3 day delivery or it would be rotten.
- Websites with only a few pages or that only sell one product.
- Website doesn’t openly provide contact information such as a phone number, chat box, social media links, etc.
- Social media ads that use multiple “fire” emojis and other attention grabbers, or that advertise “hot sale.”
- Prices that are just way too cheap, such as offering King Crab Legs for $10/lb.
Our Ideas to Try to Avoid King Crab Scams
- We think it’s best not to click on any ad – instead type in the Costco website URL yourself (www.costco.com) right into your browser – if there’s a special you’ll be able to find it there. If the ad is for another retailer, do the same – don’t click an ad and order from the site that launches!
- If you do click on the ad, look closely at the URL and make sure you’re on the right site. Poke around on the site using the above tips and ensure you’re on the right site before making a payment.
- Check the URL on Trust Pilot (or similar website that tracks trustworthiness)
- Email or Call Costco (or other retailer) and confirm the offer – be sure you are using the real phone number from the retailer’s official website – not the phone number on the scam site or on the advertisement.
- If you’ve never heard of the retailer or have any doubts, it’s better to pass and miss the offer than to give your money to a scammer.
- All reputable wholesale clubs and seafood specialty distributors we are familiar with accept credit cards…any site asking for payment via paypal or other cash transfer is a HUGE red flag.
What To Do If You Get Scammed
It is outside our jurisdiction to offer official advice, but we can share what was shared with us. Of those who clicked on the king crab legs scam ads and sent paypal payments, most did not get their money back. However, some did get money back from PayPal…so be sure to report it RIGHT AWAY. The faster consumers reacted and reported, the better the odds seemed to be. Those who used credit cards reported a higher likelihood of getting their money back than those who used cash transfers like PayPal.
We suggest not delaying a moment to report it to PayPal, Visa or whatever payment system you used. In all reality, many consumers will never get any money back. We wish we had better news on recovery. But unfortunately, prevention is the real medicine here.
How Do Scammers Get Away With This?
The king crab legs scam sites themselves and the facebook accounts advertising them are created, promoted, and then disappear in just hours. The scammers are constantly changing their location, bank accounts, social media accounts and the URLs they use to facilitate the scams. Literally it’s all up and completed in just hours. Then they launch a new one.
Costco (or any other retailer) has no control over who puts their logo on any website or social media ad. By the time a retailer learns of it, it’s already been deleted. The scammers generally reside outside the United States, so there is no way to find them or seek recourse for trademark infringement (the threat of litigation carries no weight in many other countries). It’s important to report the ads if you can…it helps FB to identify them faster..though it may not help you, it will help a neighbor.
In many cases, like the ad above, we think this should have been caught by Facebook earlier during the ad approval process. However, there is a huge volume of ads pushed through their platform daily, and clearly the ads can and do get through. We know they are working to put more safeguards in place, and we hope this improves in time, but in the meantime, be on high alert.
Ideas to Find Deals on King Crab Legs and Seafood:
Sam’s Club sells a variety of seafood and crab legs, you can order online for pick up in-store or grocery delivery.
See if Same Day Costco will deliver crab legs to your home here – note: this is a service provided by Instacart and items are marked up in price. Costco also sells frozen seafood on their website which ships frozen – it’s pretty expensive fair warning.
Check the king crab options on Amazon – be sure to read reviews – but in our experience Amazon is fairly responsive and reliable in remedying issues with sellers.
Local grocery stores often run legitimately great deals on lobster tails during the summer, we’ve spotted them for $5-$10 each sometimes. Definitely check your local grocer too!
Affordable Alternative: If you’re looking for crab or lobster on a budget, we suggest considering snow crab like these from Sam’s club. They’re good, have a decent amount of meat, and cost much less. Definitely not king crab or lobster though, we get it!
Did You Get Scammed by an Ad for Cheap Seafood?
Do you have advice to share? If you were scammed by this scam or another that is similar and have any tips for those who’ve been had, please share them in the comments! If you have a screen grab of a scam you can share with us to help others identify them, please drop us a note in the sidebar and we’ll reply to you to request the image. Thank you in advance, it takes a village!
See More Favorites from the Costco Meat & Seafood Department
You can now find Thanksgiving fresh whole turkey at Costco in stock – and once…
Looking for a Thanksgiving or Christmas Prime Rib roast? You might want to consider the…
2022 Thanksgiving dinner planning time again….this Fall, you can find once again find organic whole…
If you’re shopping around for your Thanksgiving, Christmas or Holiday Turkey and wondering how much…
Looking for a fully cooked and turkey for Thanksgiving? One option you might consider is…
We love holiday parties that serve shrimp cocktail!! If you love hosting parties that serve…