With gas prices higher than hell’s thermostat, everyone’s looking for ways to save at the pump. Scammers are capitalizing on drivers’ desperation with gas gift card giveaway scams. They disguise their tricks as money-saving miracles — only to take your money and run.
Be careful when you find giveaways too good to be true online. You can save money by being a savvy spender and using the right resources. Tap or click here for a few ways to find the cheapest gas prices near you.
Here’s a popular gas station scam that could get you. Criminals are trying to trick drivers into buying fake gas station gift cards. Fall for the con and you could lose your credit card information.
How to spot a fake gas gift card giveaway
Usually, these scams circulate on social media. Sometimes they’re so convincing that gas companies have to put out disclaimers. Here’s one scam that made the rounds on Facebook:
This is just one of many fake gas gift card giveaways that made the rounds on social media. In June, fraudulent Facebook pages impersonating oil and gas companies popped up like weeds.
Confusion is swirling around like a tornado and throwing drivers off their feet. It’s such a massive issue that researchers with AFP Fact Check reached out to Exxon. Spokeswoman Julie King said the ads falsely represented gas card promotions. “We are not providing the services as claimed,” she told AFP.
Exxon isn’t alone, of course. Several gas companies are trying to tackle the impersonations.
One customer fell for a fake gas gift card giveaway from Shell. Of course, it wasn’t Shell, but the scammers performed a successful masquerade. The scam victim told the Better Business Bureau how it started:
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.Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker
Bottom line: You’ll find most of these scams on social media. But be wary of gas gift card giveaways in your inbox or messaging app. You should also avoid the big mistake causing more spam emails and texts.
Watch out for these red flags
Don’t forget that there are legitimate gas card giveaways or gas credit cards you can win. But you need to be cautious when you come into contact with free gas sweepstakes or random offers of free gas cards.
Here are a few ways to find out if you’re going to win a gas gift card or fall for a nasty scam.
- You feel pressured: Scammers want you to act quickly so you can’t reflect on the scam and realize it’s fake. That’s why they try to make you feel emotional and impulsive. They use urgent language, making you feel like the offer will disappear if you don’t act immediately.
- You have to pay to win: These scams say that to win your free gas gift card, you have to pay for shipping. No respectable company would ever claim you have to pay to get a free gift. So whenever someone demands a fee for a prize, leave it. You’re dealing with a scammer.
- It’s too good to be true: So you didn’t apply to join any sweepstakes but you get a text saying you were “randomly selected” to win a free $100 gas gift card. As Kim always says, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.” Whenever an offer seems too sweet, be suspicious.
Another way to avoid this scam — and others like it — is to educate yourself. Here are eight of the biggest scams you need to watch out for.