(WFRV) – The Better Business Bureau has issued a scam alert regarding booking a rental car.

According to a recent report, a rental car shortage has caused prices to increase and in turn, scammers have found a way to get their slice of the deal. The BBB Scam Tracker has received reports on con artists impersonating rental car companies saying they have a deal on a rental.

The scam works like this – someone searches for a rental car company online and finds phone numbers that appear at the top of the page. A ‘customer service representative’ answers and says they are offering a special promotion and if you pay your rental upfront with a gift card or prepaid debit card, you’ll get a significant discount.

Reports show that a person purchases the cards, shares the PIN with the representative and the scammer insists that the money didn’t transfer and you need to purchase another card. However, no matter how many cards you purchase, the scammer will always say the card doesn’t work.

The BBB offers these tips to avoid a rental car scam:

  • Never make payments with prepaid debit cards or gift cards
  • Use the contact information listed directly on the business’s website
  • Beware of sponsored links, fake websites, and pop-ups
  • When in doubt, verify deals directly with the company.

If you’ve been the victim of a similar scam, the BBB asks that you report it to the BBB Scam Tracker.