Don’t get wrapped up in car ad scam
So you receive an email stating that Rockstar is looking for people in your area to have their cars wrapped in full-car advertisement for the energy drink.
An easy way to increase your income, right?
Only if you’re a scammer.
For the recipient, it’s a losing proposition, says the Better Business Bureau of Central California. The scammers promise to pay you a certain amount to “rent” the space on your car, but they send you a check for more than that amount. They tell you to deposit the check, take your share of the money, and wire the rest of it to the company that will wrap your car.
Weeks after you wire the money, which could be thousands of dollars, you find out the deposited check was a fake. It takes only a few days for your bank to make the money available to you, but it can take weeks for your bank to determine that a check is a fake.
You are responsible for any check you deposit: when a check turns out to be a fake, you have to pay the bank back.
Several people in the Exeter-Farmersville area have received a fake check scam in an e-mail from Samuel Arnold who claims to be a Hiring Manager for RockStar. The e-mail reads:
“Subject: P/T ADVERT JOB….KINDLY RESPOND
We are looking for self-motivated, energetic individuals across the USA that can interact with the public. Part time or full time available to get paid $400 weekly carrying our advertisement label on your Car. Thanks for your response. It is very easy and simple, no application fees required, this is how it works; the basic premise of the “paid to drive concept” Rockstar Energy Drink” seeks people, regular citizens, professional drivers, and all car owners above eighteen(18) years old, to go about their normal routine as they usually do, only with an advertisement for ‘Rock star Energy Drink’ plastered on their cars. There will be no fee for gas since you are not driving to anywhere else apart from your daily routine.”
The e-mail goes on to ask for the recipient’s personal information, including full name, address, occupation, phone numbers
If you respond you will be sent another email saying you were approved and a $1,780 check is in the mail via UPS. Another email instructs you to deposit the check in your account and wire $1,580 to the graphic artist who will be wrapping your car and keep $300 for yourself. But when the recipient attempts to cash the check it bounces because it is forged, leaving you responsible for the money the bank wants back.
And it isn’t just the recipients who are victims of the scam, it is also legitimate businesses. In addition to RockStar’s reputation being sullied, the check is made out to recipients from Frank Butler Properties Inc. in West Village, Calif.
But the Butlers don’t have anything to do with the scam and are working with the police to find the scammers, according to the BBB.
“We are victims too,” Mrs. Butler stated. “We have had to close all our accounts and redo everything. People call us from all over the country, unfortunately they call after the checks have bounced.”
The BBB offers four tips to help Valley residents avoid the hassle altogether.
1. If someone urges you to wire money, it’s probably a scam. Con artists often insist that people wire money because it’s nearly impossible to reverse the transaction and follow the money. Don’t send money to someone you don’t know, either in cash or through a wire transfer service.
2. Consider using a payment option that provides protection. Don’t agree to deposit a check from someone you don’t know and then wire money back. No matter how convincing the story, it’s a lie.
3. Don’t respond to any messages that ask for your personal or financial information, regardless of whether the message comes as an email, a phone call, a text, or an ad. Should you get an offer that requires you to deposit a check and wire money back: Throw it out. Legitimate companies don’t pay you by asking you to wire money to them.
4. If you’re tempted to investigate the offer, ask for a check drawn from a local bank or local branch. Then, visit the bank in person, give them the check, but don’t withdraw any funds until your bank tells you the check is valid.”