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Beware of texts offering chance to win free gas

Clicking link could install malware on phone
An example of a scam text message appearing to offer a chance to win a $500 gas card
Posted at 6:32 AM, Jun 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-16 18:37:33-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The average price of gas in Indiana is now more than $5 a gallon, and if that’s not bad enough, scammers are now trying to use high gas prices to scam you.

Scammers are sending text messages that appear to be a contest for free gas.

“Gas is high. Enter to get a $500 gas card,” one of the text messages read.

The text messages also include a link to enter.

“They are very smart," Shelbi Felblinger at the Better Business Bureau Serving Central Indiana said.

WRTV Investigates showed the text messages to Felblinger.

“It looks like they're trying to take advantage of consumers who are looking to save some money,” Felblinger said.

The text messages are another version of phishing.

PREVIOUS | Phishing text messages on the rise

“If you click on the link, malware could be installed on your device, so it would allow the scammer to have access to that device,” Felblinger said. “Or, it could send you to a link to a copycat website and to fill out your information so now the scammer has access to that."

The BBB says the texts are so new, they haven’t received complaints yet, but they expect the texts to make the rounds as gas prices soar.

“It sounds like something we are going to see more of especially with the rise in gas prices, the trend is everyone wanting to save some money,” Felblinger said.

How To Stop Phishing Texts

  • Do not click the links or engage with the scammers
  • When in doubt, delete the message
  • Contact your wireless provider and ask them for help in stopping unwanted messages and calls
  • Purchase an app like Robokiller or Norombo
  • Protect your mobile phone by setting software to update automatically
  • Protect your accounts by using multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication makes it harder for scammers to log in to your accounts if they do get your username and password

CTIA, an organization representing the wireless industry suggests forwarding phishing texts to your provider at 7726 or “SPAM.”

The Federal Trade Commission says phishing emails and text messages may look like they’re from a company you know or trust.

The messages may look like they’re from a bank, a credit card company, a social networking site, an online payment website or app, or an online store.

They may:

  • say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts
  • claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information
  • say you must confirm some personal information
  • include a fake invoice
  • want you to click on a link to make a payment
  • say you’re eligible to register for a government refund
  • offer a coupon for free stuff

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