Ken Paxton
Consumer Protection

"Gas Coupons" an Excuse to Get Bank Account Numbers

Our office has recently heard that telemarketers are calling households in Texas offering $200 worth of gas coupons for $3.95. Reportedly, the caller is very slick and convincing, with smooth answers to every possible question. The key is, he wants the consumer's bank account number so he can receive payment directly from the account.

We cannot say it enough: consumers should NEVER give out their personal identifying information or financial information to anyone they do not know. Be suspicious of anyone who calls you and then asks for that kind of information. Don't be pressured. Don't be tempted by grand offers. And don't be fooled by a caller who has all the logical answers.

They called you. You didn't call them. You do not know who they are. Be safe: HANG UP!

ABOUT CONSUMER ALERTS - The Office of the Attorney General accepts consumer complaints about businesses. When a pattern of complaints warrants intervention, the Attorney General can file a civil lawsuit under consumer protection statutes, sometimes with the result that a company is required to pay restitution to consumers -- see our Major Lawsuits page. However, when a consumer is swindled by a con artist, filing a complaint cannot help. Civil litigation can sometimes put a very unscrupulous business out of action, but often cannot produce restitution.

Individual con artists generally fall under the jurisdiction of a criminal prosecutor -- in Texas, this is the district or county attorney. But even when they are charged and convicted, these individuals usually have spent the money as fast as they have stolen it. A person who is the victim of fraud should report the incident to the police or sheriff. But by far the best thing is for consumers to be aware of fraud, so they are not swindled in the first place. For this reason, the Office of the Attorney General posts these Consumer Alerts about possible scams and schemes that come to our attention through citizen contacts to our office or other sources.