Summer Brings Slew Of Shady Postcard Scams

Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota ® (BBB) warns area consumers to watch out for a scam involving postcards purportedly alerting recipients to ‘a reward of up to $100 in Gas Savings.’ These ‘savings’ are allegedly redeemable at Exxon/Mobil, Shell or Sunoco. However BBB advises people to pass on this offer, as it is designed by unknown parties solely to gather personal and credit card information – or both. The postcards have no return address but urge people to call an 844 number, which is toll-free.
“These bogus postcards know no season, but summer seems to lead to a spike in this kind of activity,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota. “In every case like this that we’re aware of, involving nebulous postcards, the legitimate companies cited are not aware of or affiliated with these so-called offers.”

Variations of this postcard scam have popped up sporadically nationwide over the last few years, often claiming nonexistent affiliations with Walmart or Target in conjunction with supposed $100 savings or gift cards. Some notifications have been delivered via text message and through email. People may also receive phone calls claiming they’re the recipient of such prizes.

Based on previous offers of this nature, those who call the toll-free phone numbers on these postcards are told they must provide a credit or debit card and will be charged a small fee – usually just over $3 – for processing. BBB advises the public to either shred these mailings or report them to the FTC (www.ftc.gov), your local post office or both.

Better Business Bureau also reminds consumers to:
• Never give out personal or financial information to unknown parties over the phone, through the mail or via the Internet.
• Always research offers before making any decisions. Visit bbb.org or call 1-800-646-6222.
• Be wary of any deals that sound too good to be true.

If you’ve already provided your credit card number to the individuals behind this offer, contact your card issuer or financial institution immediately – as well as your local authorities – and monitor your statements closely.

The mission of Better Business Bureau is to be the leader in building marketplace trust by promoting, through self-regulation, the highest standards of business ethics and conduct, and to instill confidence in responsible businesses through programs of education and action that inform, assist and protect the general public. We are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Contact BBB at bbb.org or 651-699-1111, toll-free at 1-800-646-6222.