Q: I was approached via social media a while back to wrap my car with this company’s logo. They told me I would be paid $200 per month just to drive around town. I agreed because I could really use the extra cash. Well I got the first initial check and it was for $2,000. They told me to keep a portion for myself and wire the rest to a car wrapping company they selected for me. My gut is telling me something is off. I asked them if this was legitimate and they assured me it was. What do you think?
A: The Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission have both issued warnings about car wrapping scams.
Scammers are conning their victims under the guise of reputable beer and energy drink companies like Red Bull to help gain the unsuspecting victims’ trust.
According to BBB’s new study on fake check scams, car wrap scams are nothing new, and they are showing no sign of slowing down any time soon.
How the scam works
Scammers send the consumers a counterfeit check for more than the agreed-upon amount and tell them to keep their share and wire the rest of the money through Western Union or MoneyGram to a company that will supposedly wrap their cars.
After you wire the money, a couple weeks will go by then the check will bounce and your bank will alert you to the fake check. The money you kept for yourself will disappear, and you are now on the hook for repaying the fake check back to your bank.
It’s important to remember that no reputable company will EVER send you a check and then ask you to wire money back, as that is the first red flag of a scam.
Even though the check is fake, the scammers are still able to make money off their victims through the wire transfer process. When a victim sends funds via Western Union and MoneyGram, the funds they are sending are legitimate, which is why these scammers are able to stay in business.
If you do deposit a fake check into your account, there are things you can do to help remedy the situation as quickly as possible.
First, notify your bank immediately and notify the bank where the check was issued.
Next, file a complaint with:
Federal Trade Commission: ftccomplaintassistant.gov
Internet Crime Complaint Center: ic3.gov/complaint
Western Union: westernunion.com/us/en/file-complaint.html
U.S. Postal Inspection Service: postalinspectors.uspis.gov
Action Line is written by Blair Looney, president and CEO for the Better Business Bureau serving Central California. Send your consumer concerns, questions and problems toAction Line at the BetterBusiness Bureau, 2600 W. Shaw Lane, Fresno, CA 93711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.