If you receive an email offering to wrap your car in advertising in exchange for a weekly paycheck, be aware that this is likely a scam.
Everyone has seen those “wrapped” cars driving around in which the auto is completely covered in advertising. There are in fact legitimate businesses which utilize this form of advertising. However, there is an email scam going around which attempts to tap into this marketing method, and it’s known as the Car Wrap Scam. This is just a new version of the old “over-payment scam.” The email may claim to be from a variety of sources, such as Red Bull, Monster Energy, Bud Light, or Heineken. We have encountered several variants of this scam (two are featured below).
The email initially seems harmless enough, in which the recipient is told they will receive $300-$400 per week to simply drive around with advertising on their cars. At first, the sender only requests your basic contact information, presumably in an attempt to appear as benign as possible. The scammer will then offer to send you a check for a large amount, such as $1800. They’ll tell you to deposit the check, take out your first week of pay, and wire the rest to a graphic house which will customize the wrap for your car.
And they’ll pressure you to wire that money quickly because the check is fake – and it will bounce.
Unsuspecting victims deposit this bogus check and wire money out of their account to the scammer (posing as a graphic house) before the check has cleared. When the check finally bounces, the victim has lost whatever money they wired out.
Below are a couple of sample emails we’ve seen in this car wrap scam. The first is an initial email, and the second is a follow-up email after we took the bait for another variant to see what they’d say next.
Email #1: Red Bull
Subject: Participate In the Redbull Car Advertisement Agent (BE PAID TO DRIVE)
We are currently seeking to employ individuals world wide. How would you like to make money by simply driving your car advertising for RED BULL.
How it works?
Here’s the basic premise of the “paid to drive” concept: RED BULL seeks people — regular citizens, professional drivers to go about their normal routine as they usually do, only with a big advert for “RED BULL” plastered on your car. The ads are typically vinyl decals, also known as “auto wraps,”that almost seem to be painted on the vehicle, and which will cover any portion of your car’s exterior surface.
What does the company get out of this type of ad strategy? Lots of exposure and awareness. The auto wraps tend to be colorful, eye-catching and attract lots of attention. Plus, it’s a form of advertising with a captive audience,meaning people who are stuck in traffic can’t avoid seeing the wrapped car alongside them. This program will last for 3 months and the minimum you can participate is 1 month.
You will be compensated with $600 per week which is essentially a “rental” payment for letting our company use the space no fee is required from you RED BULL shall provide experts that would handle the advert placing on your car. You will receive an up front payment of $300 inform of check via courier service for accepting to carry this advert on your car.
It is very easy and simple no application fees required contact email along with the following you are interested in these offer.
Send the Details below to hiringman[email protected]
Make of car/ year:
We shall be contacting you as soon as we receive this information.
Email #2: Henekin
This is a follow-up email from a similar scam:
Thanks for your prompt response,It is Very Easy and Simple with No Application fees required : Here’s how It works – The basic premise of the “paid to drive” concept
HEINEKEN seeks people — regular citizens, not professional drivers — to go about their normal routine as they usually do, only with a big advert for “HEINEKEN” plastered on your car. The ads are typically vinyl decals, also known as “auto wraps,” that almost seem to be painted on the vehicle, and which will cover any portion of your car’s exterior surface
What does the company get out of this type of ad strategy? Lots of exposure and awareness.The auto wraps tend to be colorful and eye-catching and attract lots of attention. Plus, it’s a form of advertising with a captive audience,meaning people who are stuck in traffic and can’t avoid seeing the wrapped car alongside them. This program will last for 3 months and the minimum period you can participate is 1 month.
You will be compensated with a $400 (four hundred dollars per Week),which is essentially a “rental” payment for letting our company use the space. HEINEKEN shall provide Experts that would handle the advert placing on your car. You will receive an up front payment of $400 (four hundred dollars) inform of check for accepting to carry this advert on your car and other weekly payments will also come in the form of checks and delivered at your address weekly.
The following information below will be needed
Make of car/ year:
Address:(NOT PO Box)
Do you have a driver’s license:
Phone Number(s) mobile/home :
We shall be contacting you as soon as we receive these information, HEINEKEN looks forward to working with you.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) have both issued warning to the public regarding Car Wrapping Scams. Consumer Affairs also addressed the Carp Wrap Scam in 2015, noting, “if there are companies offering decent sums of money for essentially no work at all, especially in this none-too-good economy, those companies are not mass-emailing strangers in a desperate attempt to find job candidates — such a company would already have plenty of applicants, and can damned well afford to be picky about who it hires.”
In addition, warnings about such scams have appeared on many television newscasts around the country.
Watch one of these newscasts from WLOS News 13 out of North Carolina:
Whenever someone offers to send you money and asks you to wire a portion back, this is an indication you are being scammed, regardless of how convincing they sound. If you receive an email like one of the samples above, you’re better off just deleting it and moving on.
Have you been contacted by a scammer like the ones listed above? Let us hear from you in the comments below!
Updated January 17, 2016
Originally published February 2013