Gas Station Gift Card Scam: How It Works
(with video below) There is a new scam going around this week. It will most likely hit your computer while browsing the Internet so beware.
An unsolicited pop-up showing up on your screen invites you to enter to win a free $1000 gas station gift card by filling out a survey. You get to pick one of the three gas giants presented (see image above): Exxon, Shell, or Sunoco. However, these brand names are being used as a front for this latest phishing scam. The approach is very similar to the recent $1,000 Target Gift Card Scam that made thousands of victims via mobiles.
Watch the video below to see in action the $1,000 Target Gift Card Scam exposed:
As soon as you click any of the Exxon, Shell, or Sunoco buttons, a new blank page opens, having just one small notification: “Upgrade needed. Please upgrade your mobile to the latest version“. This is a dead giveaway since the whole thing happens on your computer and not on your mobile phone.
However, if you click OK you are taken to a poorly designed page offering several products for download. This questionable webpage will hit you with offers such as “Get PC to Mobile Free SMS messaging tools” or “Access site for online dictation, voice to text, VOIP, and free ringtones”.
Once you press the ‘Click to install’, you’ll either install malicious software on your computer/phone (leading to loss of personal information and identity theft) or simply install unnecessary programs that you don’t need. You just put money in scammer’s pockets. How is that?
If you look in the web browser at the address listed there, you might even see a name of a different business/brand. Typically, this is followed by some numbers or an ID code. What happens is scammers create all these fake Free Gift Card campaigns to direct traffic to legitimate websites, which will earn them affiliate commission once you install a product.
Gas Station Gift Card Scam: How To Avoid
Exxon, Shell, or Sunoco rarely offer these kinds of deals to customers, and never through unsolicited random pop-up campaigns. The real ones do have marketing campaigns encouraging people to “like” their posts and share them, but giving away $1,000 to millions of Internet users just doesn’t make sense.
If you receive one of these offers or emails, contact the company and verify the deal. Chances are, there is no deal and you’ve saved yourself the pain of identity theft.
It is rare that a consumer gets something for nothing; be aware of this and protect yourself from becoming an easy target.
If you really want to participate in rewards programs and gift cards are your thing, use only legitimate companies. One of the most trustworthy services out there is Swagbucks.com, which is the largest online rewards portal dedicated to earn customers gift cards, electronics, and exclusive merchandise. You can visit their website and register for free HERE. They offer a $5 sign-up bonus.
Shell/Exxon/Sunoco Gift Card Scam: How To Report
Let your friends and family know about the gas station gift card scam by sharing it on social media. You can also officially report the scammers to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:
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Are you just about to make a purchase online? See if the website is legit with our validator: