Reports have been resurfacing since the beginning of the year of increased instances of the car wrap scam which has been around for a few years. Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a warning about scammers posing as employees of Marlboro or Purell in emails and on social media seeking people to advertise their company through car wraps. We have all seen car wraps, which are advertisements for a company wrapped around a car. For someone looking for some money in return for very little effort, this may seem like a match made in heaven. But if you are not careful, it could be a match made in scam hell. Recently I got a phony text message solicitation purportedly from Fiji water offering to pay me $500 in return for wrapping my car with Fiji advertising and a Scamicide reader sent me a copy of an email in which she was solicited to do a car wrap advertisement for Budweiser. The email offered her $700 a week which is far in excess of what legitimate car wrap payments are. The email also had a link to a very sophisticated website with information purporting to be from Budweiser about the car wrap program. I have copied some of the information below, but have left out the extensive graphics which were quite excellent. All in all, the website looked legitimate to the untrained eye, but is a scam.
Car wrapping is actually legitimate, which is part of the problem. Scammers exploit legitimate advertising through car wraps by either putting an ad on the Internet or contacting you through a mass email or now text messages in which they seek people to have their cars used for advertising through this technique called shrink wrapping. Unsuspecting victims respond to the advertisement and are sent a check for more than the amount that the victim is to be paid for the service. The victim is instructed to deposit the check in his or her bank account and wire the rest back to the company. This is where the scam comes in. The check that the scammer sends you is a counterfeit. However, unfortunately, the money that you wire the scammer comes right out of your bank account and is impossible to retrieve. Last summer, in Ohio Tizita Guffy became a victim of the car wrap scam when she responded to an advertisement that told her she would be paid $500 a week to drive her car with advertising for Crest toothpaste wrapped around it. She was sent a legitimate appearing check and told to wire $3,000 from the check to the company that would be putting the advertisement on the car and to keep the remainder of the check. Ms. Guffy waited 24 hours for the check to clear and then wired the money as instructed. The check sent to Ms. Guffy was, of course, counterfeit and the money she wired from her account was lost forever. This scam of sending you a check for more than what you are to be paid and having you wire the balance is the basis of many different scams.
Here is a copy of the Budweiser website sent to me by a Scamicide reader.
Welcome to Budweiser wrap Advert
If you are selected
The wrap is a non-damaging vinyl wrap that is digitally printed with the advertiser’s graphics and applied to the vehicle
you will receive a new car, wrapped in an attractive advertisement. Most free car programs usually last for two years at which point you can return the car or buy it (usually for a reasonable price).
If you already have a car, that you currently own you could get paid for displaying advertising on the side of your vehicle. We offer various remunerated programs. The remuneration is proportional to the area of the car covered by the advertising. In short, the bigger the wrap, the more you will get paid.
The windows are covered with a perforated material similar to a tint that is transparent from the inside and will not interfere with your vision. The display is completely street legal and is similar to the fully wrapped buses you may have already noticed driving in and around cities.
As soon as you are shortlisted, your weekly payment in form of a bank check will be mailed out to you, the payment will include your weekly pay of $700 and an additional money which will be given to the detailer being payment for the installation of the decals on your vehicle.
While there are legitimate companies that pay for car wrapping. None of them will ever send you an unsolicited email offering to pay you a specific amount to have your car wrapped. The legitimate car wrap advertising companies generally pay about $100 per month and they never ask you to pay for the car wrapping. They tell you where to bring your car to have it wrapped and you don’t pay anything to the wrapper. Legitimate car wrapping companies always ask for information about your car, how much you drive and where you drive. The FTC warns people about being particularly wary of car wrap opportunities that appear on social media and job boards. They are generally scams.
Always be wary if someone asks you to wire money to them as a part of a business transaction. Scammers do this all the time because it is quick and impossible to stop. In addition, even if you get what appears to be a certified check and wait a few days for the check to clear, you will still be out of luck because it takes weeks for a check to fully clear. Banks are required by law to give you conditional credit after a few days, which means that ultimately when the check turns out to be counterfeit, the credit is removed from your account and if you have, in turn, wired funds from your account assuming the check was legitimate, you are out of luck and will have lost your own money. A check sent to you by someone with whom you are doing business for whatever purpose that is more than the amount you are owed that comes with a request for you to send the overpayment amount back is always a scam.
For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.” Scamicide was recently cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.
If you are not a subscriber to Scamicide.com and would like to receive daily emails with the Scam of the day, all you need to do is sign up for free using this link. https://scamicide.com/scam-of-the-day/