Beware Car-Wrap Scams

The fake-check scam is a tried-and-true scheme with dozens of variations. One such variation,
the car-wrap scam has recently become more widespread and successful.

In this scam, well-known “brands” post ads or send mass emails promising consumers
generous compensation for allowing the company to use their car as advertising space. The
consumer simply needs to have their vehicle shrink-wrapped with an ad for the company to be
generously paid around $500 a week.

Unfortunately, the ad is bogus. When the victim is awarded their first “paycheck,” it will be made out for an amount far larger than what was promised. Alternatively, the victim will be supplied with the funds to pay the car-wrapper; only the amount on the check is a lot larger than necessary. In both scenarios, the victim will be instructed to cash the check and mail back the surplus to the sender. You can probably guess the ending: The check will not clear and the
victim will never see that money again.

Like every successful scam, this one tries to bait its victims with the promise of easy money.
Luckily, there are loads of red flags here to alert you to the fact that you’re looking at a scam.
First, the ad will be written poorly and riddled with spelling errors. This should immediately tip you off to its shady intent.

Another clue is the ridiculously high compensation being offered for essentially renting out your vehicle for an alleged company to use as advertising space. You know what they say about
things that are too good to be true …

If you fall for the scam, you can still pull out when you get your first check. Legitimate
companies do not mistakenly “overpay” you and then ask you to refund the change. If you
receive a check that matches this description, rip it up and cut off all contact with the sender.

It’s equally important to note that many of these car-wrap scams are being pulled off in the
name of well-known beverage companies like Monster Energy, Pepsi, and Red Bull. Most of
these companies have confirmed that they do not run any programs like the one promoted in
the scam.

If you spot a car-wrap scam, be sure to warn your friends and file a complaint with the FTC at
ftc.gov.