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Cash-strapped drivers get ripped off with fake gas gift cards

Even though gasoline prices are starting to drop, they are still high year over year. Scammers take advantage of this to tempt drivers with fake gas station gift cards. It’s really a way to get your credit card details and other personal information. If gas prices are still draining your budget, don’t fall for this scam.

How the scam works

You see a social media post, receive an email, or complete a survey that you’ve won a $500 gas station gift card. Currently, the scam claims to be from Shell, but also beware of scammers using different gas station brands.

To get the gift card, you just need to pay a small fee. But when scammers get your credit or debit card information, they’ll 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 withdrew $89.95 from my account. I called about the charge, and they fixed it, but the next day another $89.95 was taken again.

In addition to your credit card information, the scam may also ask for other personal information. 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.

How to avoid price scams

  • be very skeptical of any prize, grant or gift card offer you see on social media!
  • Never pay to win. No legitimate company will ask you to pay to receive something you’ve 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. Scams by imposters are common, so if a big 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 following a link someone sent you) to see if it’s really involved in some kind of giveaway.
  • Look for the blue tick. Many social media platforms verify brand and celebrity pages so that users can tell real pages from copycats. Be sure to research this trustmark before liking and sharing content.
  • Attention new accounts: If you think a giveaway is real, click on the company or celebrity profile. If it’s a new account with very little other content, that’s a big red flag.
  • Pay attention to spelling mistakes and typos: Real brands use giveaways to promote their business. Spelling mistakes and typos will make them look bad! They are a big warning sign of a scam.
  • The gift asks you to complete too many tasks: If a giveaway asks you to comment on multiple posts, follow multiple accounts, and tag a few brands, it becomes nearly impossible to keep track of all the entrants and pick a random winner (as required by law).
  • There are no terms and conditions. Online giveaways must include organizer contact information, how to enter, how the winner will be selected, and eligibility requirements. If you don’t see any information, that’s an instant red flag.
  • Don’t click “Like” on every post in your feed. Scammers aim to get as many likes as possible, so be sure to only “like” posts and articles that are legitimate. Do not help scammers spread their scam.
  • Don’t act on impulse. The scammers hope that you will be so excited about their offer that you won’t stop thinking about suspicious details. Use your best judgment and question any offer that seems too good to be true.

Source: BBB.org

To report a scam, go to the BBB Scam Tracker. To find reputable companies, go to https://www.bbb.org.


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