Rewards Card Glitch Led to Free Gas for Months — And a Felony Charge

Written by Camilla Jessen

Mar.18 - 2024 12:30 PM CET

In Nebraska, a woman's discovery of a loophole at a gas station pump led to her obtaining free gas for months but has now resulted in felony theft charges.

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The 45-year-old American woman was arrested on March 6, accused of defrauding a gas station of nearly $28,000.

Over several months, prosecutors allege, the woman took advantage of a system flaw at a Pump & Pantry in Lincoln, Nebraska, owned by Bosselman Enterprises. The issue came to light in October when the company's loss-prevention manager reported the scam.

Following a software update in November 2022 intended to manage rewards cards among other features, an unintended glitch emerged. This bug allowed users to double-swipe a rewards card, triggering a demonstration mode in the fuel pumps, which then dispensed gas without charge.

Investigations revealed that a specific rewards card was used repeatedly to exploit this glitch for free gas.

Through video surveillance and tracing the card, authorities identified the suspect, who had been benefiting from the flaw from November 2022 until its resolution on June 1.

Further investigations suggest that the woman not only used this method for her own gain but also shared it with another individual, charging her for the supposedly "discounted fuel." This arrangement reportedly saved the second woman about $200 on fuel costs, based on the probable cause statement.

In total, the card facilitated the theft of over 7,400 gallons of gas across 510 uses, according to the AP news agency.

The suspect, now out on bond, is scheduled for a court hearing on April 11. Attempts to contact her attorney for comments have been made.

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