Scammer have found a way to prey on college students that are stressed about making car payments and keeping up with vehicle maintenance. If you have a car, you know how expensive the upkeep can be. Auto loan payments, gasoline, maintenance, parking fees, parking space rental fees, etc. So what if a company offered to pay you while you drive around during your normal errands and destinations with their branding wrapped onto your car? That might sound like a great way to make easy money.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has learned of some car wrap scams that have targeted college students — a demographic known to be looking for ways to make extra money without interfering with studies. The gist of the scam is this: The scammers send emails with messages like “GET PAID TO DRIVE.” They offer to pay you $250-$350 a week if you’ll drive around with your car (or truck or motorcycle) wrapped to advertise a well-known product – or even an event like the 2020 Olympics.
If you bite, they’ll send you a check to deposit into your bank account. Then they’ll tell you to use some of that money so a “specialist” can put the ads on your car. The might say you’ll be promoting Monster or Red Bull energy drinks, but they have nothing to do with the company. And they’ll tell you to pay by money order, Walmart money services, or by making a cash deposit directly into the “specialist’s” bank account – all financial methods that make it difficult to cancel or get your money refunded once you become aware of the scam.
For a lot of people, their money is irretrievable once they figure out the “specialist” is really the scammer because no no car wrap is delivered. If the victims deposited a check, they also find that the check is a fake, which involves the bank removing the amount of the fake check from the account, and possibly applying fines if the checking account becomes overdrawn.
If you receive a check ‘out of the blue’ as part of a business proposal, it’s a scam. These types of scams are associated with the car wrap scam, fake prize-winning scams, “secret shopper” scams, online sales with with overpayments. All these scams are associated with the victim receiving a check and with requests to send back money to the scammer/offender.
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