According to this email, the Australian branch of oil company Shell is offering motorists up to $150.00 worth of fuel or products between 13th and 20th September 2008.
The email instructs recipients to click a link in order to visit a website where they can print a copy of a coupon that will allow them to redeem the offer.
However, the message is a hoax. Shell Australia has made no such offer. At the time, the company published the following statement on its website denying the claims in the email:
Scam alert – hoax email circulating offering free fuel from Shell
It has come to Shell’s attention that an email is circulating offering free fuel at Shell-branded service stations in Australia.
This email is a hoax and is not a genuine offer.
It has not been sent by Shell and we advise motorists to ignore the email.
Shell regrets any inconvenience caused as a result of this hoax.
It seems that the message is simply a prank perpetrated by persons unknown. Clicking the link in the email opens a webpage that flashes the message “You are an Idiot”, on the screen as depicted in the following screenshot:
At the time of writing, I could see nothing overtly malicious about the webpage other than the insulting comment regarding the visitor’s level of intelligence. The hoax is seemingly a classic “gotcha” joke similar to a number of others such as the Driver’s Licence on the Internet prank.
That said, Internet users should always be very cautious of clicking on links in unsolicited emails. In many cases, such links will open bogus websites that can download malware or fool users into providing sensitive personal and financial information. Criminals often use enticing cover stories such as free offers in order to entice recipients into opening malicious websites or email attachments.
In general, it is wise to be sceptical of any “free giveaway” offers that circulate via email. While a few may actually be legitimate, many will just be foolish hoaxes like this “free fuel” email and at least some will be deliberate scams as noted above.
Subject: Free FUEL Coupon from Shell
National Launch: Shell Free Fuel Offer
Offer NO catch No Gimmicks No other purchase necessary this is a genuine offer to the Australian motoring Public.
This offer is Availible Australia Wide starting 6am Saturday 13th September till Midnight 20th September 2008
You can only use it once per vehical registration… Visit the Below Web site and claim your ‘Free’ Fuel Coupon,
which will entitle the bearer to one (1) FULL tank yes FULL tank of any of shell petroleum products OR to a maximum of $150.00AU.
This offer is Shell Australias way of showing we care for this country and our valued customers, coupons may be redeemed at any shell service station outlet.
So go to the web site below PRINT off a Coupon for each vehical you own enter the vehical details and come get your FREE Fuel it’s that Simple..
Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!