According to AAA the average price for a gallon of gas in the United States today is $4.82 and in many states, the price is even higher. It therefore comes as no surprise that consumers are desperate to get some relief from these high prices and scammers are there, as you might expect, to add to your woes. Recognizing the desire for relief from high gas prices, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says scammers are calling, texting and emailing people posing as government representatives of the federal Fuel Relief Program offering assistance. All you need do, they tell you, is provide some personal and financial information in order to be eligible for the program.
Unfortunately, there is no such program and if you provide your personal or financial information to the scammer, you will end up becoming a victim of identity theft.
Impostor scams have long been among the most lucrative for scammers. While there are many variations of this scam, the most common variations have involved scammers calling their intended victims on the telephone posing as some governmental agency such as the, FBI, IRS or the Social Security Administration. The scammer then, under a wide variety of pretenses, demands an immediate payment by gift cards, credit card or wired funds. Being asked to pay by gift cards is a definite indication that the call is a scam since no governmental agency requests or accepts payments by gift cards. Alternatively, the scammer demands the victim supply the phony governmental agent with personal information such as your Social Security number which will then be used for identity theft purposes.
As I have often reminded you, through the simple technique of “spoofing” it is very easy for a scammer to manipulate your Caller ID to make a call coming to you appear legitimate when it is not. Therefore you can never truly trust your Caller ID. Trust me, you can’t trust anyone. Even though your Caller ID may indicate that the call is coming from a government agency the call is coming from a scammer.
Whenever you receive a phone call, text message or email, you can never be sure who is contacting you so you should never provide personal or financial information in response to such communications unless you have absolutely confirmed that the communication is legitimate. In this particular case, there is no federal Fuel Relief Program so whoever contacts you claiming to represent the program is a scammer.
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