Even if high gas prices are draining your budget, don’t fall for this scam. Better Business Bureau (BBB) Scam Tracker has received reports that scammers are tempting drivers with phony gas station gift cards in an attempt to steal credit card details and other personal information.
“As inflation and interest rates continue to rise, many of us are on high alert for ways to save money.” Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Central East Texas said. “It’s important to be knowledgeable about scammer tactics and not to act impulsively, particularly when a deal sounds too good to be true.”
How the scam works
You see a post on social media, get an email, or take a survey that says you won a $500 gas station gift card. Currently, the scam claims to be from Shell, but watch out for scammers using different gas station brands too.
To get the gift card, you only need to pay a small fee. But when scammers get your credit or debit card information, they will likely charge your account for amounts you never approved. One consumer told BBB Scam Tracker: “They said I won a Shell gas card and had to pay $1.95 for shipping. A day later, they took $89.95 out of my account. I called about the charge, and they fixed it, but the next day, another $89.95 was taken out again.”
In addition to your credit card information, the scam may also request other personal details. Some consumers say they were asked to fill out a form and provide their name, phone number, physical address, credit card information, and other details. Sharing these details with scammers can open you up to identity theft.
BBB provides the following tips on how to avoid prize scams
Never pay to win. No legitimate company will ask you to pay money to receive something you won or to get a free gift. If someone asks you to pay even a small fee to receive a prize, you’re probably dealing with a scammer.
Do your research. Impostor scams are common, so if a large company seems to be offering you a free gift, do some research first. Visit the company’s official website (by typing it into your web browser, not by following a link someone sent you) to see if they really are participating in some kind of giveaway.
Don’t act on impulse. Scammers are hoping you’ll get so excited about their offer that you won’t stop thinking about any suspicious details. Use your good judgment and question any offer that seems too good to be true.
— BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Most BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB Serving Central East Texas was founded in 1985 and serves 19 counties.