The Rhode Island Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit has received several calls from consumers regarding a possible “car wrap” scam. A car wrap is when a car is “wrapped” in sheets of graphics to advertise a company, a product or a logo. In return, the company pays the owner of the car for advertising. There are legitimate companies that offer this opportunity but drivers beware – this may be a scam and will have you losing money.
The scam works like this: The victim receives an e-mail or sees an ad offering an opportunity to make $300 to $400 per week by wrapping their car with an advertisement for a company. The victim is sent a “check” as payment and told that they are to take out the first week’s pay and wire the remaining funds so that the company can start customizing the wrap to the car’s specifics. This scam is a twist on the mystery shopper scams and sweepstakes scams. The check is fraudulent and the victim ends up wiring funds from their own account to the perpetrator. Once the money is wired, it is gone and so is the extra cash the consumer was expecting to earn.
“The idea of earning money for nothing is often too tempting to pass up,” said Attorney General Kilmartin. “Unfortunately, the scam artists prey on that temptation. It’s important to remember the old phrase, ‘If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.’ A sure giveaway this is a scam is if they request for you to deposit a check and wire some of the funds back to them.”
Simple tips to protect yourself from this and similar scams:
Do not agree to deposit a check from someone you don’t know.
Legitimate companies do not pay you and then ask you to wire some of the money to them.
Do not provide personal identifying information or bank account information to someone you do not know.
If you believe you are a victim of consumer fraud, contact the Consumer Protection Unit at the Department of Rhode Island Attorney General at 274-4400. You can download a consumer complaint by visiting www.riag.ri.gov, or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.