Petrol station fraud

Filled up yesterday, about 70 euro’s worth, using a bank card. Later, got an SMS from the bank, alerting me to a large transaction for petrol, from that service station, of 150 euro. I blocked the card, so that payment will not be made. So, what happens next? How do I pay the service station? I noticed nothing unusual at the pump, but I can only imagine that it was some sort of card fraud, or the pump did not turn off when I replaced the pistol, and the next person helped themselves up to the limit of 150 euros. Sadly, I did not take a ticket. Anybody had any experience of a similar sort?

It may have been a ‘pre-authorisation’ issue.
Because of the risk of people driving off from fuel stations without paying, some places ‘reserve’ a sum of money on your card that is likely to cover the maximum fuel cost - this is typically 100€ or 150€.

After you have filled up and replaced the nozzle, your card will be debited for the cost of the fuel drawn, and the pre-auth released. Occasionally there is s glitch and the pre-auth remains active. Could this be what’s happened in your case?

I think contacting the card issuer to see what transactions have actually been recorded on your account would be a good first step.

Good luck!


Thats almost certainly what it was. £120 for Tescos in the UK now.

this used to happen a lot more in the past - particularly when using pre-paid cards (in our case then a Caxton.fx currency card) when fuel was dispensed out of hours but doesn’t seem to happen now when using a French bank card.

Sounds very possible, people have found this out the hard way before and thought they had been frauded. Always take a receipt for everything you purchase, even in the supermarket as its the concrete proof of your payment and may be needed should there be a problem.

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Hi, Brian, Thanks for the quick reply. The actual amount was 151 euro, and that was on the bank account statement as pending; there was no extra line as to the actual cost. So your scenario could be possible. Should I just wait and see what happens? The bank already know that I responded to their SMS and cancelled the card. Additionally, I would have thought the bank would know that it was a pre-authorisation issue, and so not sent the SMS. Would there be any point in going to the service station?

Around here its usually €100 max no matter how much is in your account. The pump generally stops dispensing when you get to €97 ish, never the full 100

mostly automated so probably not detailed enough to distinguish between pre-auth and actual purchase.

why not, if its close by and will settle your mind.

You should go to the service station, as if you have blocked the payment you have just stolen €70 of petrol. So your fraud, not theirs!


There’s been another fraud reported… where someone pays and leaves… only to be followed and “accosted” by a (supposedly) member of staff who says “you’ve overpaid and need to be refunded, stick your card in here…”
they offer a “fake” card machine which grabs all your info that you carefully tap-in in good-faith…



Hi, Thanks for that - it makes sense to go and see them, though the initial fraud would have been theirs. the car’s tank is 52 L completely empty, so it would have been impossible to have put in 150 euros worth, unless they assume I would have filled 4 or 5 jerry cans. Do these stations normally have cameras?

In actual fact… it’s not fraud… it’s quite reasonably trying to stop an incorrect amount being taken…

There are so many frauds going-on at the moment… that folk have every right to be cautious and Stop the card and/or payment at the first whiff of something fishy…
In fact the advice is to Stop first and Think later… before it’s too late.


Ahem. Blocking the card, which might lead to a full cancellation and replacement of card being forced, may turn out to have been precipitate.

On French bank cards these transactions seem to sort themselves out in 1-3 days, however on UK pre-paid you may find it creates duplicate transactions

A neighbour blocked their card, when they realized they’d been conned by an SMS…
He was almost in tears, while telling me how he would never have believed it possible that he would be taken in…
His Bank arranged a duplicate card “swiftly and with style”… phew…

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Defo pre authorisation - try to unblock the card?

For total enegies I think it is €200 pre-auth.

edit - presume pre-authorisation has never happed to OP post before?

I never have and I’d be pretty p***d-off if it happened to me. I only ever put in about 30€ worth of diesel and if I have 100€ or 150€ pending as a transaction I would probably get my card refused next time I used it. I rarely have much in my current a/c.

Trouble is, its increasingly difficult to find “manned” (sorry personned🙄) fuel stations these days

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but what does pre-approval have to do with that? I only ever use the self-serve pumps and I put my card in and I get debited for the amount I put in.


Likewise for OH and for me too… never had any mishaps (touch wood) and we use various petrol stations, depending on where we are at the time… (s/service of course).
I have fond memories of the manned stations… but that’s from many years ago…
last time was in Portugal I reckon… (very good memories of that lovely country).

Do you not get a message on the automated pump screen saying you can fill up to a certain amount (usually €100)?