Reports are resurfacing of increased instances of the car wrap scam which has been around for a few years. 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.
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 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 almost impossible to retrieve. Recently, in Maine, April Burgess received what she thought was an email from Budweiser recruiting her to wrap her car in their advertising for which she would be paid $400 a week. However, the check she received was for $1,850. She was told to send the $1,450 remainder of the check to the wrap artist. This made her suspicious and led to her being told by her bank that the check was counterfeit in time to keep her from falling for the scam. 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.
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. In addition, 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 almost 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, made checks or wired funds from you 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. Don’t fall for it.
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