Gas is getting more expensive by the week, so you might be considering ways to reduce your fuel bill. You might get an email from a gas station offering a discount for downloading their app.
But is the offer legit? You need to tread carefully now as a bunch of gas scams has gone viral.
Read on to see how you can save money on fuel while not giving away personal information.
Here’s the backstory
A listener of “The Kim Komando Show” noticed that many gas stations offer discount incentives if you fill up with them rather than the competition. It usually involves downloading an app, signing up for the station’s email newsletter or getting their fuel card.
With everybody tightening the fuel belts, the listener wants to know how safe these incentives are and what you should look out for before agreeing to anything.
If you want a few cents off through a newsletter, the most critical aspect is to ensure you signup through the correct website. Don’t follow a random link from an unsolicited email or text. Also, never give away more information than what you are comfortable with.
Many gas station emails and apps aren’t scams, but you should be cautious. Google has also rolled out some changes to Maps, which will now suggest the most fuel-efficient route to your destination.
Other apps can help you save money, too. Here are a few options:
Through crowdsourcing, GasBuddy lets you search for lower gas prices around you, updated by the local community. If you get the GasBuddy card to pay for gas, you can save up to 25 cents per gallon. Tap or click here for more details on GasBuddy.
- Gas Guru
Also using crowdsourced information, Gas Guru shows you the latest gas prices for stations around you on an easy-to-use map.
More than just a navigational tool, the Waze app has a special section that lists gas stations nearest to you and includes the prices when available. In addition, it often partners with local gas stations to provide a small discount if you navigate with the app.
What you can do about it
Not everything out there will save you money. Scammers use local or global events as a lure to steal your money. Unfortunately, rising gas prices are no exception. So no matter which app you download, always do so from official app stores and not third-party libraries.
The Federal Trade Commission also warns about a fuel scam making the rounds.
Here’s how it works: Victims get a call from someone claiming to be a government official, urging them to sign up for a fuel relief program. Unfortunately, it’s a scam, and the thief makes off with your personal information.
But what about a gas credit card? Is it worth the hassle to sign up for a card you can only use to buy fuel? According to Consumer Reports, that largely depends on several factors. For example, a gas credit card from Shell or ExxonMobil can save you up to 10 cents per gallon.
However, a regular cash-back card could reward you with 5% back on your fuel bill. So, as a rule, look for a gas card that rewards you with a percentage rather than cents off.
You also might want to consider paying for a Costco or Sam’s Club membership to save on gas. As we pointed out recently, you can purchase gas at both big-box retailers for lower prices than you’ll find at traditional gas stations with a membership. Tap or click here to see if a membership is worth it.
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