Don’t fall for the car wrapping scam. Here is how it works!
Scammers offer consumers a way to earn money by wrapping their cars with an ad for a nationally known product. Scammers send fraudulent checks with instructions to deposit it in the bank victim’s account, keep a portion of the money, and send the rest to the scammer’s accomplice.
Eventually, the fraudulent check bounces and the consumer loses the money which was sent to the scammer.
Please note: If car wrap scammers are in possession of your personal information, identity theft may occur. How do scams lead to identity theft?
How to spot a car wrap scam
Car wrap scam tactics
Car wrap scam blacklist
We’ve all seen them on the road. Non-commercial vehicles wrapped in vinyl, advertising a popular brand like Dr. Pepper, Pepsi, Red Bull, or Monster Drink. And we have all probably heard that you can make money by “renting” your vehicle as a mobile billboard. In fact, there are legitimate advertising services that use vinyl wraps on private cars for campaigns. Typically you register with these firms providing your car type and daily route. When they get a campaign that fits the demographic that you drive through every day, they’ll have your car wrapped and pay you to go about your usual travel routine. Easy money right?
Unfortunately, there are far more car wrap scammers than there are legitimate advertisers. Making money for doing nothing more than driving to and from work or school is an alluring idea particularly for young people. But when you bite on a scammer’s deal, you become the victim of one of the oldest check fraud scams going.
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- How scams can lead to identity theft
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How to Spot a Car Wrap Scam
Car wrap scammers use a variety of methods to contact their marks and we’ll cover those in a minute. But the offer is always something along the lines of earning money just to have your car wrapped in an ad. They suggest you can make $250 to $450 a month or more. If you agree to their plan, they send you a check for thousands of dollars more than your first month’s pay. They will instruct you to deposit the check in your account, keep your share, and send the balance to a vinyl wrapping specialist they use.
The check, of course, will bounce. When that happens, your share disappears from your checking account balance as well as the rest of the deposit. The big hit comes if you have sent a check from your account to the “vinyl wrapping specialist.” When that check is cashed, and you don’t have the funds to cover it, the bank will be looking at you to make it good.
Car Wrap Scam Tactics
The chance to score some easy money is a powerful lure that scammers of all kinds use to their advantage. The car wrap scheme typically wraps itself in respectability by using trusted sources and national brands to give marks a sense that they are legitimate. Here are a few of the common tactics they use:
- Scammers will post “jobs” on trusted job boards and lists advertising for part-time drivers. The pitch is to earn money by wrapping their car with an ad for a nationally known product. When people respond to the posting, the scammer gets an email address and other personal info to use for further contact.
- Other methods of contact include social media platforms including Messenger on Facebook.
- When the scammer contacts the mark, they will ask superfluous questions like the make of car, miles driven daily, and the route their daily drive takes. There will be no questions about insurance, driving record, time of day of the commute, or any other questions a legitimate ad agency would ask.
- Based on your answers, the scammer will give the victim an estimate of what they could earn a month. Assurances will be made that the agency will pay for the car wrap. In fact, they will send you a check that covers the cost of wrapping and also pays you one month of pay in advance.
- The check arrives along with instructions to deposit it in your bank, keep your share, and send the balance to the car wrap specialist they have chosen. The only way to “send the balance” is to write a check of your own. A couple of days later the agency’s check bounces, and you’re out a couple of thousand you sent to the car wrap specialist (scammer). Of course, if your check bounces, the bank will come looking to you to make it good.
Recommendations – What to Do Next
If you have fallen for a car wrap scam and you have sent money to cover the cost of wrapping the car, there is little chance of recovering your funds. However, there are still things you can and should do. If you have received a check but have not deposited it yet, there are steps you can take to prevent the scam.
- If you receive a check, the only sure way to get your money is to take it to a branch bank of the bank the check is written on. You’ll find out immediately if funds are available and better yet, you may be able to cash it right there.
- But the most likely scenario is that the check is fake and you should report it. Your local Sheriff’s Department will be interested and the FTC will want you to file a complaint. You should also publish your complaint anonymously on websites such as SCAMGUARD™ in order to warn the public.
- As a general rule, never send money, particularly via wire transfer or money card, to anyone you don’t know. Those forms of payment are difficult to reverse and offer scammer anonymity.
- The car wrap scam is one of the most common check fraud schemes in the country. Always research any company, legitimate or not, before committing to any business relationship.
Attention: Consumers who have been contacted by car wrap scammers could have had their personal information breached. TotalScam!™ highly recommends that consumers whose information has been breached obtain identity theft protection service immediately.
There are several companies that offer identity theft protection in the US. One of the most inexpensive options we were able to find is the protection offered by LifeLock. You can start your protection here.
Disclaimer: The information and opinions contained on this site are not endorsed by LifeLock. TotalScam!™ receives compensation from LifeLock. This helps support our scam prevention efforts.
Fraudulent websites can be easily spotted by looking out for these 5 red flags. Learn about them by visiting the following this link: How to tell if the website is a scam in 5 steps.
Yes. If scammers are in possession of your personal information, they can use that to steal your identity. For more on this subject, please read: How scams lead to identity theft.
There are various ways in which scammers gain access to your personal information. One such way is by purchasing consumer data on the darknet. When a website is hacked, which happens quite often, hackers steal databases containing personal information and sell that to the highest bidder. This information is then used to steal identities, ruining lives in the process. For more on this subject, follow this link: How scams lead to identity theft.
It depends on the method of payment. For more on this subject, please read: How to recover your money if you’ve been scammed.
Most scam artists reside outside of the US and use threats to exact more money from their victims. Nevertheless, all threats should be taken seriously, especially if scammers have your name and address.
Car Wrap Scam Blacklist
The following phone numbers, websites, and emails have been reported to us by the consumer. If you feel this information is incorrect, you may submit a request for removal or correction by contacting us using this form.
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