Letting a Stranger Use Your Membership Card at a Gas Station of a Big Box Store

Updated on August 11, 2013
J.P. asks from Sugar Land, TX
21 answers

Is there any reason not to? Scam?
She said she left her membership card at home.
Any harm? Only members can pump gas to get
a break in price
I looked at "my gas receipt" later to see what kind of
information was on my receipt and there was no name
or account number other than the last 4 digits of my
credit card that I used. My membership card has no
perks. I scanned the card for her. I also, for precaution,
took her lic. plate # and make and model and color of car.
In this day and time, I wish we didn't have to think of such
deception, but precaution rules the day. A crime is on the
rise where purses are taken out of the opposite side of the
car that the gas tank is on, while filling the tank. Being alert
and not multi-tasking is key.

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answers from Anchorage on

It is a scam, but against the company, not you. They are trying to get the cheap price without having to pay the membership fees. Those fees are part of what allows them to offer the cheaper gas.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Doesn't anyone trust anyone anymore?
What's the big deal.
You helped a stranger.
Big, mean, scary people aren't really "everywhere"!
I haven't seen a "mean, scary, shady, menacing" person all week.

7 moms found this helpful

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answers from San Francisco on

That's BS. She just wants the discount without paying for it. At Chevron I don't need my Safeway card I can just punch in my phone #, and at Costco if I don't have my card (it happened once when I was on vacation and left most of my wallet at home) I can go to customer service and they will pull up my account.
I'm very giving towards deserving people but this kind of thing is nothing more than petty theft.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

"Membership" to Safeway does not cost anything.. Anyone can join..
So it is possible she did not have her card with her, but she could have given them her phone number and it would have worked. But at the pump you do need the card for the discount.

At our "Safeway".. it called something else.. another "Austin, Texas Weird story".. our favorite school gets points for each purchase, so yes, I would be happy to loan my card. Heck I have even asked the cashier if it would be ok, and she has happily accepeted it.

Membership to Sam's or Costco does cost money to be a memeber, so no, I would not allow a stranger to use my card.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Since all you have to do is go in and verify membership, I would NOT do this. It's no different from stealing. They get the discount without paying the membership.

I would have said NO, and not felt guilty about it. I love shopping there, and don't personally want the prices to go up.

It's NOT the same as using a grocery store card. Those are free to everyone.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

It depends on what you consider a "big box store". If you're referring to a grocery store that offers a "discount" type card, that is of no cost. Then there's really no reason not to "lend" it to someone. I don't know specifics but in most states, if you don't have a card, by law the store still needs to give you the discount (at the store, not the gas pump). Although you're receipt may not have any information on it, that doesn't mean a thing. The reason stores use these cards is to collect data on your shopping habits.

If the card is a "membership card" at a warehouse club. like BJ's or Costco, then you should never lend out your card. It's part of your membership agreement.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I personally would not because I pay for the advantage of using my card for any discounts. I don't want my member number associated with what someone else may purchase that does go into an info bank linked to my card.

I realize you are just talking gas... but my idea is that she just wanted to get the discount without paying for it. How "Convenient" to forget her card... BS. The more people like her who scam the system means people like you and me will be paying more for basic services due to fraud.

I am all for helping someone legally but I won't take part in a scam which in turn will raise my cost.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I raises the cost of your membership, it is shrinkage or theft. I am a Costco member, if I do not have a card I can go in and verify my membership and they will allow me to use the pumps.

There is a difference between a Costco/Sams membership and a Kroger card, one you are not changed for. Part of your cost of product is determined by the collection of membership fees, if you give away access to membership you are adding to the cost of your membership.
Really ask yourself, would you let this person go in to the actual store on your card, meet you at the checkout, and swipe your card in front of the worker and then let them pay? Then they leave and you swipe your card again and pay for your stuff? In front of the worker? If the answer is no, you know you just facilitated theft against that store.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

OMG, people. Nothing bad or seriously harmful is going to happen to anyone by swiping a membership card and allowing another person to pump gas into their car. If you have control of your card the entire time and never let the other person touch it, they can't get anything from the purchase but the gas! I understand that people can be scammers or prey upon others for discounts as a career so you just have to use your judgement. It's either yes or no.
My own mom has let me shop at Sam's Club with her card a few times to see if I liked it and if I thought it might be worth getting a card of my own. I am not a criminal or a thief and I was also not taking advantage of my mom in any way. She was just helping me out. I would do the same for her or someone I knew. Nothing bad happened and I can assure you that we didnt rip off anyone from that billion dollar giant of a store!
Now, if a total stranger came up to me and wanted to use my card inside the store to buy a bunch of stuff on my membership, I'd have to say no. If someone asked me to use my card to pump one tank of gas, I would let them. Gas is horrendous these days so if I helped someone save a buck....so be it. I could think of way worse things than this.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from College Station on

THere is no harm. You did your good deed for the day and let someone save some money on a tank of gas. Relax.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I don't think it's harmful. It's like someone inputting their phone number at the grocery store so you can get the bargains (people have done this for me, and I've done it for others). It was nice of you to do it.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


At our Costco and Sam's club - IF the attendant sees you doing it - they consider it fraud and can take your card from you.

Personally? I don't see a problem with it - but I do understand the other side...Is this person an habitual "ooh my word I forgot my card at home"? person - because really - if she truly left her card at home - she can get a temporary one from inside the store.

You are PAYING a yearly fee for the use of the store and gas. maybe she is not and scamming everyone to get her gas for .25 cents or more per gallon less....

When you are filling your car up ANYWHERE - it should be locked - even with you on one side. People are getting sneaky and bad. You should have your keys in hand as well.

Hope this helps!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I'd feel uncomfortable with it, mostly because if it's a paid membership (like at Costco), the reason for the less expensive prices is that each person paid their yearly membership. If some people are not paying and using others' cards, that causes membership prices to go up for all of those who are paying. That's why they will confiscate your membership card if they see you doing it. Alternately, she could have gone in to the membership desk and gotten a temporary card to use to buy her gas IF she really were a member.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Reading on

If they catch you doing it, they can take your card.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

If inside the store, and they already have a membership, they can get a replacement card. If at the gas pump, I would probably do it, all you have to do is swipe it, they don't get any of your info, unless it's on the receipt which I never look at.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

If she was paying with cash I'd probably have done it too.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

You did fine. Half the time the gas stations are back from the road so mostly members know they're there but most other people can't see it.

You scanned it, so even if she was "cheating" and just asking to get cheaper -gas (and it's only between 10-15 cents, right), maybe money is that tight and you helped someone in a bind.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I did it once and so far, nothing bad has happened to my membership. I was the one who scanned the card into her pump then she put her debit card in. She never touched my card.

My card is just the membership card with no frills.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

I guess I'm confused as to the advantage of her using your card.

With my card, I get a discount on gas because I've earned points by shopping at that store. So, did she use your points and get a discount? Or is she able to get a discount just by using the card? If it's the latter, then I don't see a problem with it. But I certainly wouldn't let a stranger use my card AND use my points for a discount.

And, just to add to your list of crimes .... there have been reports of men slipping into the backseats of cars when the person pumping gas goes inside the station to pay. I always lock my car if I have to go inside; and I try my darndest to NEVER have to pump gas when it's dark!!!

Good luck!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Can you pay for the gas with your card? We could with our old membership card. I would worry that someone might push "pay with this card" if you are able to charge with it.

It was smart to write down her information, just in case. Sadly, you just never know what people might be up to. Maybe nothing. Better safe than sorry, though.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I had a gentleman ask me to use my card inside the store in the line. I thought it over as you did, realized there was no harm and said okay. When I got outside, he came over and insisted on loading my stuff into my car. He was very nice, and told me it was just tight between paychecks and he couldn't afford his membership right now. I was glad I had helped and it was nice he loaded my stuff. I enjoy stories of nice people helping others.

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