If you receive a text or email asking you about making money by wrapping your car with a logo, it’s unfortunately not a new way to make money in the “gig” economy. It’s a scam, pure and simple.
How the Scam Steals Your Money
The “car wrap” or “car advertising” scam typically goes something like this:
You may need some extra money or want to earn additional income in your spare time. As if by happenstance, you receive a text or email asking you something like: “Would you like to make some extra money by having your car wrapped with a well-known company logo?”
If you agree, the next steps follow a predictable pattern. Usually the scammers respond to your acceptance by delivering a paper check for (in some cases) thousands of dollars. The check is accompanied by instructions for what to do next. The instructions typically tell you how much of the money is for you, and how much is for the ad wrap designer or installer.
The scammers will tell you that the money for the installer must be paid up front—before your car is wrapped—and must be promptly sent to the installer via wire transfer or money order. The scammers will instruct you to deposit the check as soon as possible, and to confirm that the check has been deposited and the wire transfer or money order processing is complete.
What the scammers do not tell you that the check is a fake.
The scammers hope that by the time your bank declines the check, you have already sent money to the supposed “installer”—which is an account controlled by the scammers. The scammers quickly transfer the money to an account outside of the United States. Your money is gone. And unfortunately, the bank will not refund the money, either. Even worse, the bank may impose dishonored check fees or ask uncomfortable questions about why you deposited a bad check into your account.
How to Avoid This and Other Scams
The short answer is that you should not respond in any way to these scams. If you do anything, report the scam to authorities such as your state Attorney General’s office, the Federal Trade Commission, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Each of these authorities operate consumer protection divisions and have user-friendly ways to file a complaint.
In addition, always be on the lookout for too-good-to-be-true deals. The scammers can be very convincing. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t! Some common “red flags” to watch for include:
The “ad wrap” scam has hit Eide Bailly close to home. Recently a group of scammers—without our knowledge or approval—used our firm name and a closed office address to send solicitations and phony checks. Even if the scammers are never found and never face legal action, we want you to know that we take the matter very seriously. We have reported the matter to authorities and are taking steps that will hopefully prevent this from happening in the future.
If you would like more information on the car ad wrap scam, please contact us.
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