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'Relief program' scams on the rise as gas prices soar

Gas Prices
Posted at 7:06 AM, May 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-11 08:06:17-04

TULSA, Okla. — As if gas prices weren’t high enough, Gas Buddy says the cost of fuel is spiraling out of control, as inventories of oil drop, and the European Union sets the stage to curb the use of Russian oil.

And for some, the cost is getting even more painful, as scammers prey on those who find it hard to afford the price at the pump.

Especially recently, as the signs seem to scream at folks as they drive by many gas stations. Four bucks a gallon.

“I’m pretty sure everybody’s sick and tired of the gas prices where they’re at already,” one driver says.

Some families say they’re close to getting priced out of buying the fuel they need.

Cheri told us, “I’m to the point where I can’t fill up my car to get to work, to provide for my family.”

And it’s folks like Cheri, that a new scam targets.

She says, “I got a call from a gentleman saying the government was providing relief to drivers because of the skyrocketing cost of gas. I signed up for the program but found out I had been duped and lost a lot of money out of my checking account. I’m so mad, I can hardly stand it.”

“This is a scam,” Colleen Tressler, with the Federal Trade Commission says.

Many scammers take advantage of current events, using them as the next hook, to reel in the next victim.

“Scammers follow the headlines; they just pivot and follow whatever is new.”

And while higher gas prices have been in the news the last few months, a jump of some 20 cents a gallon to four dollars a gallon, easily catches the attention of most drivers and scammers.

The FTC says there is currently no relief program for high gas prices, or for any items your family needs, which are now more expensive because of inflation.

So beware of anyone telling you differently, especially in unsolicited calls, texts and emails, all designed to steal your personal and financial information, so scammers can raid your bank accounts.

“If anything comes to you out of the blue that could be a red flag right there,” Tressler warns.

And even if you haven’t been scammed, many drivers say the price at the pump, still hits them in the tank

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