Automotive Finances & Money

How you can cheat on Giant’s Gas Promo…and steal from others!

Last night, for no apparent reason, a thought popped into my head about Giant Supermarket’s Gas Promotion I wrote about earlier. There’s a way to cheat and steal others’ points .

I really shouldn’t tell others, I suppose, but getting this out there lets all of you know that you need to consider whether your points are safe AND will hopefully inform Giant/Shell that their promotion is severely flawed.

First, I’ll start by saying I never carry those grocery store cards (or any other store for that matter) because now they all let you punch in your phone number at the register to get any discounts. And that’s the flaw:

Someone else can use your phone number at the pump and steal your points!

Think about it, if you either tell your friends/coworkers/etc. that you use Giant to get gas discounts or if they even suspect that you do (i.e. you have kids and shop at Giant a lot), there’s a chance that someone with compromised morals can just test punching in your phone number at the Shell gas pump to see if you have at least 100 points. And I don’t believe anyone is going to try to track down the offender, unless you make a “Giant” stink about it.

How would you combat this? One way it to register a Google Voice number (free) and get a new Giant card with this number…and then DON’T TELL ANYONE THE NUMBER!

So, just be cautious who you tell when participating in deals until you know the risks and pitfalls. Make sure to read the fine print and also consider the information you’re providing and how it could be used against you.

What are your thoughts?

About the author

Clever Dude


  • Not so ” clever ” to steal, even if the chance of getting caught is slim. Do think that your encouraging individuals to act in this manner is really the right message to be putting out?

  • @Michael, no I don’t think it’s right to steal and I don’t think helping criminal minds think up new ways to steal is the right thing, but how else am I going to inform the public that this risk is out there? If I can think of this devious method, then any of the other 300 million people in the US can think of it too and even act on it. I can assure you that emailing/calling Giant and Shell about this risk would lead to NO action whatsoever, and you, the public, are still at risk.

    Therefore, by informing the public (although along with the criminal element), I’m at least helping someone reconsider where they’re putting their trust and possible allow them to protect their card ID in the process (by registering a free number unknown to friends/family/etc.). I’ve also sent this tip on to The Consumerist, so let’s see what they do with the information. Their whole site is filled with articles just like mine here!

  • The odds that:

    A. Somebody uses a phone number that doesn’t belong to them AND
    B. That phone number has at least 100 points attached to it AND
    C. That the phone number belongs to you AND
    D. That same person does this multiple times over and over to prove intent

    is extremely small.

    There are some many phone number combinations out there, that it would take a long time to keep guessing until one sticks vs. the savings from this – that it would not make economic sense. Throw in the risk of being caught and now your risk/reward ratio is not good either.

    Although possible in theory, I do not think it will happen in practice.

  • @Mike Z, While your scenario identifies more of the risk related to strangers, consider that people only need to know a little bit about you and your habits to use information against you. While we all may think all of our friends are saints, in reality, they’re not (and neither are you nor I unfortunately).

    Honestly, you’re right that criminal elements probably won’t use this information just to save up to $10.50 on 35 gallons of gas, but consider it’s not that hard while you’re standing at the pump to just plug in your friend’s phone number to see what happens. There’s no loss on your part if it doesn’t work…you just keep on with the transaction…but what if it does?

    Really, Giant should require that the store loyalty card be used at the pump; you shouldn’t be allowed to use your phone number. That’s how you close the loophole because you need the physical card. Granted, then it won’t work for the keychain cards that most people carry instead, as Shell doesn’t have barcode scanners on the pump to handle them. Just my thoughts.

  • I have a Kroger card and they only let you use your phone number at the register for accumulating points – you have to use your card or keyfob at the pump when getting gas. So no chance of stealing points here – anyone who wants to help me accumulate points, though – have at it!

  • I think it’s not stilling. For example, me and all member of my family use the same cell phone number when we shop at Giant. This way we all gain points. Just give your number to all your friends and people you know (including me), we will all buy and gain a lot of points and later use it to get a good discount at shell gas stations

  • I agree, we should all share our phone numbers that we use for the discount. I use my mother in law’s all the time. I have been doing research on the internet to see if there is a group that is participating in some type of phone number sharing program. Or is it possible there is a generic number used a lot by the cashiers that we can use?

  • There are other issues related to these cards. I am waiting right now for a callback from a grocery store manager to check video to see who has been using my points. Someone used them yesterday again, and I was able to call customer service and get the register number and time of the purchase.
    The manager told me that it is probably someone who knows me. I have to disagree, respectfully, with him. All it takes is for someone to hear another person in line say his or her phone number out loud (I surely have done this before getting wise), and then with a few minutes online, a reverse phone check can be done. These can also be done on unlisted numbers for a very small amount of money. Then person not only has my number but also has my address, and he or she can make a card connected to mine. Worse, I cannot see any of the cards connected to my card online; I must call for that. I would not be surprised if there are people out there who use five or six other phone numbers, randomly, to minimize the noticeable theft from one person. As far as I know, the person who did this to me is one of them.

    The big issue I have with these gas cards is that there is a serious lack of internal control associated with them. Sure, the companies might not have considered the problem initially, but now they know people steal gas points. It’s time they caught up. The first and easiest control to enforce would be that no one can make a card unless the person has one or two forms of ID with the address as his or her home address. How hard would that be to do? The second control would be that, like Yahoo, the online card accounts related to these stores allow the card user to see the previous history of the phone number, maybe back to ten transactions. The third control is a twist on the second: it would be that one of the cards would be the primary card (the first), and like a utility account, the primary account holder could see what the other cards do.

    I had to call the company to find out that there were three other cards connected to my gas points, because four people in my home had Safeway cards. Then a fourth control would that a pin would have to be used with the phone number in the case one uses the phone number instead of the card. And I have a hard time believing these companies’ IT or security departments have not thought of any of these solutions.

    My solution was to call customer service and remove every card from being able to have access to my card by removing my phone number completely. Instead, I memorized the card number. It’s 11 digits, only two more than my phone number. If I forget the card, I will be entering the card number directly into the card terminal, never again to utter a piece of personally identifiable information out loud again … come hell or high water. I have learned my lesson. 🙂

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