Scam Alert

Watch Out for Fake Gas Gift Card Giveaways

NBC 7 Responds looks at a new scam warning as families deal with high gas prices

NBC Universal, Inc.

Gas prices have slowly been falling, but it's still a huge expense for families. Many people are looking for ways to save and now some scams are imitating gas rewards.

"A lot of scammers are claiming to be able to offer free gift cards," said Viridana Quintana with San Diego's Better Business Bureau. "It can definitely seem like it's a real and legitimate opportunity."

The BBB's scam tracker shows these fake offers are targeting people across the U.S.

Here's how it works. You'll be told you won a gas station gift card via text, email, or even a social media post or message. Of course, there's a catch.

"The thing that makes it stand out and should be a red flag is when they ask for a payment," said Quintana. "When a company claims to give you a free item, it should be completely free."

There are three ways to avoid these scams. First, watch out for pay-to-win offers. They might say you need to pay a small shipping fee, but once they have your credit card information they can charge as much as they want.

"Plus of course, they keep that information which can lead to identity theft and other issues," said Quintana.

Second, do your research. If it's a real offer, it should be easy to learn about.

"If it is a big name brand of a gas station that we see all around our area, look them up, look up their social media," said Quintana. "See if they’re doing gift card giveaways."

Finally, don't act on impulse. Take an extra minute to think if it's too good to be true.

"People are so excited and quick to claim it because gas prices are so high," said Quintana. "Take some time, do your research without just clicking yes."

If you're looking for some ways to cut back on your gas usage, check out some simple tips here.

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