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How to spot a car wrap scam

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Have you seen ads promising easy money if you shrink-wrap your car — with ads for brands like Monster Energy, Red Bull, or Pepsi? The “company” behind the ads says all you have to do is deposit a check, use part of it to pay a specified shrink-wrap vendor, and drive around like you normally would. But don’t jump onto the bandwagon. It’s only easy money for the scammer who placed the ads.

How you spot the “offer”

You might see an ad on a job board or on social media. Or someone might send you a message — maybe because they saw your profile or resume on a job site.

How the scam works

The message says you’ll make a couple hundred bucks. But when the “company” sends you a check, it’s for much more than that — a couple thousand dollars. They tell you to deposit the check, keep part of it as your share, and wire the rest to another company that will wrap your car.

Weeks after you wire the money, the check bounces and your bank tells you it was a fake. The money you kept as “your share” disappears, and the money you wired is long gone — no getting it back. On top of that, you’re on the hook for paying your bank back for the fake check. And, of course, no one’s wrapping your car.

How you can tell it’s a scam

If you get a message urging you to deposit a check and wire money back, it’s a scam. Every time. No matter the story. And if this were a legitimate car wrap opportunity, wouldn’t the company directly pay the car-wrapping vendor, instead of asking you to do it?

Has this happened to you? File a complaint at ftc.gov/complaint — select Scams and Rip-offs, then Counterfeit Checks. Want to know more? Read our articles to learn how to spot variations on fake checks and money wiring scams.

Comments

Question: I have 2 phone lines available. Why don't YOU have a phone # that goes DIRECT to a person?? That way, when I get a robo-call, I could call YOU direct so you could trace the call while I played along with the robocaller. Maybe that way some of these clowns could be caught & prosecuted. TX

I'm with you-what can we do - is anyone ever prosecuted?

I contacted monster drinks they said they use company owned cars only and regular employees not the public or contractors.

Hello Coolcar46 my question is monster drinks do wrap people cars and pay them 350.00 dollars a week is a scam

Bull light are currently seeking to employ car owners world wide. you will need to carry this promotional advert on the exterior of your car and you will be compensated with $500 per week which is essentially a "rental"payment for letting our company use the space of your car, no application fees required from you. we would be paying you by check and would want you to get back to us with your Name: Street Address: City:and cell phone State: Zip code: to send you the check and also send your Age: Current Occupation: Make of car/ year:. We will contact you immediately we receive this information Note: We take full responsibility for placing and remove decal on your car and it will not resort to any damage. Thanks

Received this from one Andy Philips who posted on a Job board today. Says he work for Bud Light & from San Diego

I just got the same message from the same person

I just gotta check from a company, saying its for my first weeks pay, which is supposed to be $400. But the check is for $1750. Its drawn on a bank in Alabama,& the acct info in the top corner is from some place that does returns for insurance over payments or premium adjustments ect. The senders return address is a p.o. box rental in los angeles, ca. When i tried actually calling the number that texted me, it went to an answering svc called "global connect" thats supposed to connect you to the number. Would it even do any good to contact the police?

I got the same response. Did you look into it further? Do you know if this is a scam?

It’s a scam. Bud light isn’t doing this.

I kust received a check for 3000 something didnt add up
Googled it and my suspicion was right. I saw that budlight doesn't do that. Will check with my local pd in the morning

I’m hard on money an Christmas is coming so I signed up to get wrapped by Budweiser I sent them $1400 out of the $3900 check and then my little brother tells me check it out make sure it’s not a scam so I called the bank my bank and they told me the check hasn’t bounced so I called the guy back and I tell him is this some kind of scam or what and hangs up on me the letter said Robert Martinez. Head of operation:Exclusive Research LLC an He was using QRD Graphics

this is happening to me as we speak .. i told the guy i would not deposit the check into my account.. he said that was ok.. he said i could go and cash check at a check cashing place.. and then take my $500 and send the rest through money gram.. so if it’s a scam then i’m confused.. if i get my money first without having to mess with my bank account.. help me understand.

Weeks after you wire the money, the check bounces and your bank tells you it was a fake. The money you kept as “your share” disappears, and the money you wired is long gone — no getting it back. On top of that, you’re on the hook for paying your bank back for the fake check. And, of course, no one’s wrapping your car.

What I don’t understand is that a check needs to clear meaning the bank has cleared it with the bank on the check. How can they weeks later say it’s no good?

Under federal law, banks generally must make funds available to you from U.S. Treasury checks, most other governmental checks, and cashier’s checks, certified checks, and teller’s checks, a business day after you deposit the check.

For other checks, banks must make the first $200 available the day after you deposit the check. The remaining funds must be made available on the second business day after the deposit.

However, just because funds are available on a check you deposited does not mean the check is good. It’s best not to rely on money from any type of check (cashier, business or personal check, or money order) until the bank confirms that the check has cleared. It can take weeks to discover and untangle a forgery. Until the bank confirms that the funds from the check have been deposited into your account, you are responsible for any funds you withdraw against that check.

Whenever you cash or deposit a check, you are taking the risk of whether or not it is legitimate. Someone in the gov't said one day to banks that you can't make people wait for their money, so the banks 'loan' you the value of the check until it clears, transferring the risk entirely onto you.

If you remember the days pre-debit and heavy credit card use, if you paid by check, stores would scan the check and run it against a database of known bad accounts or people who where notorious check bouncers to protect themselves from fraud.

While you can call the issuing bank to make sure the accounts associated with the check are legit, there is no way to insure that the check is not fraudulent.

I went through the same thing, I deposited the check waited 24 hours saw it cleared and was in my account, I took out the money and sent it through money gram and 5 hours later I get a call from my bank saying the check was no good, now I owe the bank thousand of dallied. I think the bank should have knew if it was real before giving me the money but nothing I can do now but pay them. The scammer got me don’t be there fool like I was.

My bank is waiting for this check to clear. They assure me this is a scam, but they are aware and will not charge me for deposit of the check. I have not spent any of the money , but there is no real bank on the other side of the check to confirm it is real

I to have been mailed a check over $4000 to wrap my car from rush energy drink I am to deposit the check and keep $500 of it and pay the person who wraps my car the rest, theres a phone # to fax my deposit slip to after I mark all my account info off of it when I call the fax # a man answers it you can barely understand him and there are little kids screaming in the back ground some official business huh don't do it therr are companys that do pay you something for doing this but there is a very long waiting list and they only pay about $100- $200 ty for listening I wish there was something that can be done about these scams

If they ask youbtobkeep part of money and send thevrest somewherevelse it's a scam. I just got one and they didn't ask me to send money back but it is still probably a scam.

I was also asked to allow someone here tip wrap my car. They said it would be one of their people that would wrap after christmas. But that I would be sent certified check for 600 weekly as long as I chose to show the advertising on my car. Weird.... i'm waiting I don't this is real. I told him if my questions to him seemed nervous was he worried about me asking questions, he said no. I told him then there doesnt be a problem

Did you cash the check at the check cashing place?

I would not trust it. You would still be liable to the check cashing place when it bounces and they may file charges. Age old working class rule....... there is no such thing as easy money.

I,m waiting on a check as we speak sent USPS. What should I do.

I'm waiting for a check too there telling me to send the remains in money order to n.c...there to wrap my car with tosihiba ad is this real I'm confused ..

Don't believe it, it's a scam. BUYER BEWARE, you've been warned.

Wow this is really going on, I'm happy I google it. I received emails about having my car wrapped for monster energy drink and I thought it would be kind of cool so I responded back to them with my info and then I just received the check and your right it's for a few thousand dollars and they say to deposit it and send the rest to their sticker company for the fee of wrapping my car. I received a cashiers check about 2 months ago that was a mystery shopping job and same thing it was for a few thousand and I was to keep I think 350 and the rest to buy google play cards and scratch the numbers off on the back and send them the numbers I actually deposited it at my bank but my bank had put a 10 day hold on it thank god because guess what it bounced and I was still charges 10 dollars for a check return fee and now this monster energy drink person keeps texting me this is our message..
Hi this from MONSTER ENERGY DRINK We got your information and the check has been mailed out to you so once is ready i will give you the tracking number

Hello, Davu Moore
They sent that at 8:03 on the 8th and I never responded because I didn't have time yet and then at 8:13 they send one saying hello with my first and last name so I responded and said hello and here's the rest

Hello i want to inform you that the check has been deliver to you .Here is the tracking number ( 787144358018 ) "this was friday" once again I didn't respond and they sent this

You there ??
Once again I didn't respond because I was already having my doubts and just yesterday they sent me this one
HI AGAIN IN FACT THIS IS A MESSAGE OF WHICH AM USING TO EXPRESS MY NEGATIVE FEELINGS TOWARD YOU HAVE COMPLETELY MAKE THINGS BAD,BUT YOU STILL HAVE THE CHANCE OF TODAY FOR YOU TO GET BACK TO ME ELSE YOU WILL FIND YOUR SELF IN BIG TROUBLE....

So I tried calling them and of course nobody answers and it's a damn google voice number so I text them back saying I just tried calling you and so on and so on and I told them I didn't cash any check. If I have the number can't someone trace it? I mean this is crazy that they can just keep doing this

I currently have 5 fraudulent cashiers checks sitting here in front of me. I haven't deposited any of them. All sent USPS and all apoearing real. All scams. Rush energy drink. Secret shopper. Mystery shopper. Busch beer wrap. don't do it

So did you take it to the check cashing place? They just sent me a check for 3,000 I'm sure its a scam but I'm wondering if the check cashing place will still give me money?

OF COURSE IT IS A SCAM.

Yes, people are broke. Yes, it’s tempting.

NO, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS EASY FREAKING MONEY.

A check cashing store will take your id information. If the check they cash bounces, then they will sue you for the full amount, if you don't pay all of it back (plus add their interest rates) also they put it on your credit report!

Depending on the amount, they can also get a judgement agai bbn st you to include an arrest warrent....

They are using stolen checks. Same thing happened to me but I cought it before any damage was done,the check cleared but it didn't feel right so I did some digging and things didn't add up. I went to my bank and reported it and they said it is absolutely a scam. if you send the money to someone or spend it then you will be charged with with several felonies so don't do it and tell your bank and they will take care of it immediately and they will contact the people that the checks were stolen from to let them know that money has been taken out of the account and the bank will return it to them.

So grateful for this site. I almost fell for it. Got my $2900 cashier's check. When I started to look at all the different addresses they weren't the same.Do some of the research thru local car wrap companies,Better Business Bureau,look up up their website too Don't fall for this, Monstercaradvert @live. com

Everything looks real, but a little voice in my head kept saying, do some research. The envelope the check came in had a suspicious return address and the bank logo didn't quite look right on the check. Glad I came across this site. Confirms my suspicions. Think I will still go to my bank with the check to report the scam.

Be careful how you word it to the bank. I took a check in a few years back, to the fiancial institution, and they called the cops on me. The check was definitely fraudulent.

You may get your $500 but you will also get the felony charge for fraudulent document along with it as well as court cost a d restoration Roy will have to pay back.

When you cash a check at a check cashing establishment you have to show your I D. So it comes back on you this way also. The check bounces the police is called and they come visit you. Understand now.

But what happens to you if the check is fake & check bounces at the check cashing place? Would you still be responsible in paying them back? And how do you tell if it is a scam if you do not want to use your bank to be safe?

You are responsible for the checks you deposit or cash. If a check bounces, you have to repay the bank or check cashing business the money they gave you for the bounced check.

Did they check ever bounce?? What happened??

If this is legit where do i go to apply?

DUDE!!!!!!! READ THE REVIEWS....IT'S A SCAM!!!!!!!!

Rcvd exact message same person have check now but its written on cyber grant Aetna corporation account and came from Michigan state university even though phillips and his friend are in moss oak Cali. Looked up numbers they text from and found one has made almost half million while other has made almost 60000. Is it a scam or no

I was taken by a similar scam. One of the most important pieces of advice I received from the bank is this, if you suspect that the check is fraudulent, speak to a Bank Manager and explain the situation. They are able to fast process the check in these instances and know whether it is legitimate or not. In my case, I had deposited the check, and was told after three days that the funds were available in my account, so I waited another 3 days before touching the funds. A couple of days later, something told me something wasn't right and I went to the bank and asked them to verify the funds as I was concerned, and sure enough the check was bad. It was even drawn on Bank of America. These scam artists have this down to a science in replicating authenticate looking checks. Banks are only required to let you know when the funds are available in your account, not whether the check has cleared all systems. That can take up to 6 months. Which happened to a friend. 6 months after they had deposited a check, the bank came back and said that after extensive attempts to obtain the funds, the account was bad and that they would have to repay the funds.
These scammers are not only using Western Union and Money Gram they have started using PayPal as well.
As the police told me, never trust someone who over pays and tells you that you can keep the extra money. Good luck everyone and do your homework.

I just found this site. Today I got a text about wrapping my car for Dr. Pepper, and that I would receive 500.00 per week. I'm over 50, unemployment will run out soon. I seen cars with advert wrap. I thought it was legit. I called my brother he thought legit too. So I followed link and completed form, but left out my age. I kept copy of it. But I sense it was not right afterwards, si I searched and found this site. I know better now feeling stupid for putting my contact info out there. All I wanted was a legit opportunity to work. Scammers, smh... But I read all the post if I get anything in mail I will refuse it a return to sender. Not taking to bank or ck place. I feel so stupid but now I know more better. I hope others will read this post. Don't give out address name, email phone number. I'm sure Dr. Pepper company is not asking people to do this. People beware, don't fall for it. Just in case scammers maybe reading these post, just to see what people are saying. People are hurting and want to do right things earn honestly or connect to legit business to make money but, scammers are out there predators to take advantage. Yes , I'm sure they got my cell number from multiple job sites per my search and sent me the text I fell for initially. So be careful out there and keep searching for the legit work opportunity, stay positive and it will work out. Avoid, any mail addressed to you related to car wrapping. Contact authorities.

Sounds like the methods, timing of the banks gives scammers an edge. The recipient never gets the advantage of knowing on time if check is legit. Then the recipient is liable in court for the stupid banks "we can't verify that until ???"

Change the bank rules so we can do business and know for sure funds are available on a given check without the damned hassle of legal problems. Are we in a stupid country or what?

Under federal law, banks generally must make funds available to you from U.S. Treasury checks, most other governmental checks, and cashier’s checks, certified checks, and teller’s checks, one business day after you deposit the check.

For other checks, banks must make the first $200 available the day after you deposit the check. The rest of the money must be made available on the second business day after the deposit.

However, just because funds are available on a check you deposit doesn’t mean the check is good. You can't rely on the check being good until the bank confirms that the check has cleared. It can take weeks to discover and untangle a forgery. 

Until the bank confirms that the funds from the check are deposited into your account, you are responsible for any funds you withdraw against that check.

You can call the bank the check is issued from and verify that the account numbers are legit and the bank account has a balance. That doesn't help determine if the withdrawal is legit though. The other party notices that a check was cashed against their account and initiates a fraud claim and then everything goes into limbo.

If only it was that simple. Just because people work in a bank doesn’t mean they can spot out every detail. Banks always have and always will have 10’s of thousands of customers per one of their employees, making it impossible to do such a thing. The bank only handles what you put in and what you take out. They can spot several fraudulent withdrawals because the transaction took place far from where your spending habits come from but, check deposits, wiring money and withdrawals are up to you to determine for the best interest of your own financial well-being. It does suck and it’s easy to blame the bank for your misfortune but you can’t expect a bank to hold your hand every step of the way. When you make adult decisions you have to accept adult consequences. A bank is just a bookkeeper you are the one who rolls the dice.

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