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Car wrap scam targets college students

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If you have a car, you know how expensive the upkeep can be. Gas, maintenance, parking – the whole lot. So what if a company offered to pay you to drive around – which you were already doing – with their branding wrapped onto your car? It could sound like a good deal.

We’ve heard about some car wrap scams that have targeted college students, a group known to look for ways to make a few extra bucks. 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. 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 ways that are hard to cancel or get your money back.

For a lot of people, it’s only once their money is gone – and no car wrap materializes – that they figure out the “specialist” is really the scammer. And that check they deposited is a fake. Which also means the bank will take back the amount of that fake check…leaving people out even more money. Here’s how that works:

Infographic describing how fake check scams work

Spotted a scam like this? We want to hear about it. Let us know at FTC.gov/complaint.

Tagged with: fake check, imposter, scam
Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

I'm curious, what happens if the person (victim) receives their money... then doesn't follow the instructions. Do they become the scammer...?

You are responsible for the checks you cash or deposit. If you cash or deposit a fake check, you'll have to repay the bank the value of the check when it eventually bounces. Your bank might charge you a fee for cashing or depositing a bad check, or close your account.

The checks never clear. Ever. So the recipient of the check doesn’t get the opportunity to keep the “money.”

Oh yes, some of the checks do clear. My company (a small business) was the victim of such a scam where checks were created using my account information. Still fighting this with my bank!

No! You shred the check & as I did, I just left a message at "bang Energy " if you cash the check. You have to pay back the bank or they will close your account & it will be on your banking record & it will be very hard to get an account at any bank!

How do these scammers stay in business?

By preying on people who fall for it everyday. So wise up people and make sure u share the nature of these scams with as many people as u can in order to help them become aware of what these sweet deals really arent.

Been there once and lost $199 and I only got $30 and bank closed my account and I get scammer on messenger and text twice a month wanting different amounts of money from $200 to $2000 using my lest contact friend on Facebook or messenger and messenges

I get texts like this weekly. It is so annoying. Often times, it is sent in a group message. Luckily my messages app just recently made it possible to report messages in group messages as spam/scams.

My question is how do you get a legit car wrap like I have seen on cars on the highway?

I also had one girl that wanted me to walk from my house to Tops to get a money order to send her for some scam, while staying on my home phone. I really got a good laugh about that one. I wasn't about to walk a half an hour to Top's in the winter and carry my house phone with me to send her money. I forgot what the money was supposed to be for, a free trip that wasn't free or something like that. Some of them are so stupid you have to laugh .

Those idiot's calls me 3 to 4 weekly. That's why I'm changing my number.

Changing your number won't help...robo-callers use dialing algorithms to process through any combination of numbers. You'll get them no matter what your phone number is.

I've listened to the reports thru the years about Scams to the public and how people have gotten taken for probably millions of dollars now. I just happen to work for the Government and have had many years to be made aware of these Scams because they are getting into the Government too, but because we are Human, we all can get close to or get fooled. My time is now with looking for a part-time job for the Holidays, with what I thought sounded good with a Car Wrap offer and I wouldn't have to work hard to earn a few dollars, I took the bait(still being leary as the days went on)up until they sent the letter and a big check, but here's where I stopped and decided to check some things out, I go to the bank but not to make a deposit, to instead take the letter and check to a Representative and Verify that this is exactly what it is and I needed someone else besides myself to see what was sent to me. I made copies of the material for myself, sent a text message of pictures to family and even Contacted the actual Company that this supposed Specialist was Representing. I asked their Customer Service if this promotion was real and they answered back within the hour that it was a Scam. The Company, Bing Energy Beverage Co. They are not offering a promotional Car Wrap position!!! Almost got caught...what now? Do these people keep trying after they've been found out, what do you do with the Check they sent? Who do you turn it into?

I was sent a text tonight. I googled immediately! It was weird since it was a group message with 12 other numbers on there. This is what the text said:
Hi, Will you allow Bing Vitamin Energy Drink to put a small sticker on your Car for $500 Weekly View below link for info.. LINK

Should i reply all and tell them not to fall for it?

It would seem to me that if everyone continued to take the fake checks, then do nothing, the scammers would lose money on materials and stamps. Maybe I don’t fully understand the associated hassle.

I have 4 of those checks right now. Two for $2900, and two for $2495. I just received them in 2020, all within the first 39 days of the year. Scammers are on their job.

The easiest way to spot a scam is to read the "webpage" telling about the product. The spelling, grammar and punctuation is worse than mine !

Very true, also pay close attention to text messages and look at the vocabulary. I just received a check for 2550.00 with a letter telling me what steps to take next. They also have been texting me asking if I had done it and to make sure I do it ASAP, lol I’ve been stringing them along for a few days now making sure to gather what information I can. I’ve already reported it on here as well.

Ninety nine percent of my landline calls are for political donations or scams (or both) so I never answer it unless I know who is calling. Saves me a lot of hassle!

I never answer my landline for the same reason. I get calls on it from some claiming they are trying to reach me about my social security claim (which I never filed), my student loan forgiveness application (which I never did) and many other scams. I only use my landline when my cell needs charging. I want to get rid of it but I've had it so long.

This is what happened to me . I was sent $4000. Dollar check certified mail, my mom signed for it. I was told in the letter to text some one so I did. They said to deposit it into my account and text message when I had. I messaged them that my bank would put a 13 day hold on the check. They tolld me the bank wouldnt. Itook it to the bank asked to teller if the check was good he said it was and would be cleared in the morning. It was and was also taken out of my account. Wells Fargo now has taken my social security check because I couldn't stop the direct deposit on time. Wellfargo said in their letter they could not take my deosits my still did

I was sent a check for $1950 by “ The McCain Family Foundation!” I was to call 323-289-8281 and let them know that I had received it! (FedX) I did then they continuously started texting did I deposit the check! I got text from my daughter about the commission and I told them I’m sending your info to them if they say you’re legitimate I will call you back! No more texts

I was scammed with the car wrap in Aug. 2019. Now I owe the bank 3008.00 dollars. I had to quit my job so I could care for my father with stage 4 colon cancer. I seen the ad and I thought what a great way to earn some money. So I thought. Wrong!!!

Has the bank brought charges against you? They are trying to convict my son of fraud and send him to jail. Just curious how you got out of this?

Could we have permission to use this infograph for internal and external education at a credit union?

Thanks for checking, but you don't need permission! All infographics and information from the FTC is free and in the public domain, so please use it however you like. You can download, copy, drop into your newsletter or training materials  ... we're glad that it's useful to you.

We have free print material you can order too at www.FTC.gov/Bulkorder. Get brochures, bookmarks and worksheets about money and credit in English and Spanish. The material is free, and shipping is free too. If you have other questions, send another blog comment.

I have been dealing with someone who originally text me. I have no idea how he got my cell phone number, however, it was a group text about a Haagen-Daz's ice cream wrap. I didn't think anything about it because it only requested limited information to apply. I then received an e-mail about the program. I have received the whole scam in e-mail about receiving the check by USPS, taking 500.00 out of the funds, and sending the rest of the funds to the person who is suppose to do the wrap. Today I received the USPS envelope! I have not opened it. I am not naive to these scammers. I would love for the FBI or someone to catch these people! If they really want to catch them, there has to be a way! They are printing labels, they are using google voice, and g-mail accounts. A lot of this stuff can be tracked down through IP addresses. Furthermore, if the money is being sent to another address, why isn't someone following up to where the money "us consumers" are suppose to be sending to see who is getting it???? It's been an ongoing problem and I don't understand why these people can't be caught. I have keep all my documentation and I just want to find out who wants to take it serious to protect others.

You can report that to law enforcement at www.FTC.gov/Complaint. The information you give goes into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations.

Got this text to my mobile.

Earn $600+per week by permitting Bubble Drink put a little decal advert on your Car/Truck. Hours are completely flexible. Drive when you want .Click here to Apply now : /rebrand.ly/ 6yun

2 days later I received a cashiers check for $3680 delivered Fed Ex priority overnight, 2 banks, 3 different addresses, no phone number. I called the IL based bank on the check, 2 Rivers Credit Union the following day and confirmed it was a fake.

A similar thing happened to me, but it was $500 per week for a Mountain Dew Wrap. I got their phone number from the text message, as well as the address on the USPS Priority Mail envelope.

Did you deposit the check? What happened with it?

yes ... it cleared 4,750

I just got the message from Mountain dew as well. Had some guy named Armnett Gallagher text back to me. Main thing that caught my attention is he keeps referring to it as an "advert". That's a very British (or previous colony) way of speaking.

All completely insane, I have two checks in my possession, which I received one on Thursday and one today. The one I received on Thursday is from LOL The Grecian Steakhouse. Which by the way there are absolutely none of in my area. The second one I received today from dr. Pepper. . The check value together almost $10,000. . $500 a week for me a month in advance and money to pay a shrink wrap guy for my car. Each one is the same but obviously from a different scammer. I'm going to take them both to the bank. On Monday. I texted them both back. I received their checks, but they will not clear yet. Not until next week. I have copies of all of the emails and information and all the addresses and phone numbers. I feel the same way as you guys all do if you Keep all their stuff and don't do anything with it eventually. They give up. My plan. Is to open a second checking account that does not have any of my direct deposit or money in it deposited both checks. . And then do nothing. . What's the worst thing that happens to me? I have a second checking account with nothing in it, LOL. And I can document all of the stuff and send it to the Federal Trade Commission. Hopefully these guys if I can keep them on the line long enough, Will get caught. They know that the banks. Will release at least some of the funds early. , my bank will not release. The whole thing it's over $1,000. They will hold on to some of it and release a small portion. . Which of course I will not spend. . And just continue to keep these guys on the line and hopefully Get both of them caught. . They differed in one particular way, one had me fill out a form like another gentleman said here and the other one was just complete text messages and he actually had my phone number and my address which was scary. . I think the reason is because I don't have anything unlisted and they could find my information out just by looking it up online. I suppose. Anyway. Wish me luck. I hope to catch these creeps. I know some people fall for this stuff. I knew it was a scam right from the beginning. I just had to find a way to keep them both on the line until I can get somebody to look into it. I wonder if the consumer information center here reads these posts if they do. They can contact me.

Is there anyway to catch the scammer? I received a check yesterday for the car wrap scam. Scammer will be emailing me today to tell me where to send the money.

I've been bombarded with these scammers. To apply Decals on my car, buy Walmart gift cards, even Amazon packages to be delivered. I got used once and I'm still paying to repair my credit. I've been blacklisted by most banks because Chase didn't realize it was a fake check. They sent notice out, and now I can only bank at these off- brand name, one location banks. It's not worth it.

It seemed too good to be true! Being a senior, it was tempting & the next day received another request for info ---the next text said a check would arrive & Car Wrap Specialist---blah blah...Thank goodness I googled and found out about this scam before any MONEY transactions ---

how do we stop these scammers. how do i get in touch with the FTC on a possible lead to these scammers

Yes I was sent a check to get $500 and let them no when I cashed it and send them the rest for the specialist to come wrap my car

I received a check yesterday , a supposed Twix car wrap. Within minutes of receiving the check via USPS I started getting texts again. They were asking me to deposit the check. I refuse . They were even trying to get me to deposit via ATM. Very persistent to get that check deposited. So does anyone know where I go from here. Burn check, send to the police? Any answers for me?

What happens if the back takes the check. How do you not get in trouble with the Bank?

I just received a 4,000 check today 03/24/2020. My instructions are to deposit into my bank and text Mr. Amour when it’s done. Spend 500.00 and the rest is the wrapping company. They used a steel company out of California where the check is from, I googled the companies phone number and they verified the scam.

I received a check today for $3500 with a letter that also said to text Me. Amour. I have not deposited the check and will not deposit it. I had a feeling it was a scam as soon as I opened the package, but the check they sent me is from a Umpqua Bank in Oregon. It says it's from industrial source national fire fighter.

Yes I received a check but didn’t deposit it ! They are now texting me 3 times a day to deposit the check ! The texts that I’m receiving are not grammatically correct . I’m being scammed.

Thanks FTC I received 2 fake checks one for the Walmart secret
shopper scam and the other for the car wrap scam. Thanks for
your warnings.

Chad Stubbs from Mt Dew sent me a check for 2,923.00 told me to deposit and text him back when done

Someone sent me a check for a car advertising is there away to find if its good or bad

I was looking for a way to make some extra money when I came across an opportunity to to make $2,000.00 a month to have my car wrapped for advertising. I applied and was sent a check for $4,950.00 . I was to take my pay and send the remainder to the technician doing the work. That they would send money to me sight unseen, they could not even verify that I had a car. I blocked the number and came to this sight to report the company.

Wow!.. I had recived a 2,512 check from a car wrap thing from somewhere in texas but i do not own a bank account i would usually cash my checks at a little market/check cashing store. And well i was always honest and they trusted me enough to cash me this check... But after that i had a family emergency and from Hemet,Ca. In Riverside co. i had to move back to Thousand Oaks,CA in Ventura co. Within the 10th day of cashing my check i got a call from my ex tellin me i had to go n talk to the owner at the store cuz i had givin him a fake check... So since i was still waittin for them to call me n give me an info of what to do with the money i had recived...i just send them an email tellin them sorry but you will recive nothing from the fake check u send to me and i was able to cash and with out gettin in trouble with cops. I told the owner of store and told him the situation and for my luck he understood and worked a payment plan wich of it i only send one time of $300. Because he later on past away that week and his wife sold the place so for the 2nd payment i had nowhere to contact the lady and well i kept the rest of the $2,212. Can i still get in trouble for that??? Since i had no fault and i was going to pay up the man and the agrement was made by word only. According to him i was not reported to the police and he had insurance but he just had to pay a fine to im guessin the bank but i could just pay him every month a total of $300. So i wouldnt stress myself if i had by any chance spend that money already. I feel really bad but then again he left me or any one nothing to follow in case we couldnt get in contact anymore. What can hapend to me? any know?

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