Cash-strapped drivers scammed with fake gift cards for gas, BBB reports

(BBB/Courtesy)

(BBB/Courtesy)

With drivers feeling the pinch of rising gas prices, scammers are jumping on the opportunity to take advantage of consumers in desperation, Better Business Bureau of the Pacific Southwest reported in a news release July 11.

BBB is sharing the following tips to keep consumers safe at the pump as a new gas-card scam is on the rise.

How 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, the BBB reports.

To get the gift card, you pay a small fee. But when scammers get your credit-card 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 ask for other personal details. Some consumers have said that 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 make you susceptible to identity theft.

How to avoid prize scams

Never pay to win, BBB reports. No legitimate company will ask you to pay money to receive something you have won or to get a free gift. If someone asks you to pay a small fee to receive a prize, you are probably dealing with a scammer.

• Do your research. Imposter 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 to see if they really are participating in some kind of giveaway.

• Don’t act on impulse. Scammers are hoping you will 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.

About the BBB

BBB encourages businesses to operate with integrity and it helps consumers make smart marketplace decisions.

“Our innovative approach to business growth provides the tools that companies and entrepreneurs need to build better businesses,” the BBB reports. “By working side by side with industry experts, we unite with a common goal.”

For more information about the BBB, visit bbb.org.

—Courtesy of the Better Business Bureau (BBB)-Pacific Southwest

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