6/20/13

SCAM Wrap Your Car for $300 a Week

As a blogger, my email is always full of great offers to try products, accept ads on my site, and once in a while even something huge like a trip. It was no surprise to me to get an email asking if I would wrap my car with an advertisement for $300 a week. I replied with my interest and sent back my car information as requested. After all, several local school districts have done just this with their school buses and I see them driving around all the time.

FedEx dropped off packages to me like they often do and one of them was a flat envelope. Since I enter tons of sweepstakes, I know that the flat envelopes usually contain either a winning affidavit for a big prize or a check/gift card. My son was standing next to me and saw my jaw hit the floor when I opened it to find a check for over $2000. There was no letter, no note, nothing else inside. I took a photo of it and deposited it electronically into my bank. I started doing some research to determine which sweepstakes I won, when I received an email from the car wrap company telling me to expect a check via FedEx.

The email told me to verify when the funds were deposited, to which I replied that I had. Then I was informed that the funds should be available in 24 hours and I should withdraw all but $300 of it, which was my first week's pre-payment for the car wrap. The "hiring manager" even called me to verify that I deposited the check and understood my next step. The next step was to make sure the rest of the funds would be used to pay the graphic artist who would wrap my car. Up to this point, I was okay with the arrangement. Then came the kicker - the $2000 would be used to purchase a money-gram to be wired to the parent company of the graphic artist and the artist would bring out my ad contract paperwork to sign when he came to wrap the car. At this point, the red flag went up and I realized I almost got scammed.

I called my bank and told them that the check that was deposited is likely going to be returned as a bad check. They have placed a note on my account to reverse any charges that may occur when it comes back. I then researched the company's name that was on the check and discovered it is a little gift shop in Hawaii. I called them and spoke to a cashier who had the owners call me back. Apparently it is their real bank account number on the check and they'd been trying all day to figure out why their bank was being hit with multiple check-cashings for the exact amount I received. They already had their local police department working on it. They were so thankful I had contacted them with the information. I sent them copies of the evidence.

I've now spoken to my local PD and turned over the original evidence to them in hopes we can nail this guy before he scams too many people. Maybe there are some fingerprints (besides mine) on the check and FedEx invoice. Thankfully this has not cost me any money. Beware of this scam and others like it!

THINGS TO KNOW:
1. It takes 7-21 days for a check you deposit in your bank to "really clear." When you deposit a check, the bank sends the information to the central clearinghouse, who sends it to the check-writer's bank, who verifies the funds are available. Your bank may be nice enough to release the funds to you, but if a check comes back bad, YOU are responsible for any funds you have withdrawn and used. THE RED FLAG - withdraw funds, buy money order, wire it to an individual somewhere else. (By the time the check comes back bad, you've already sent a money order that was cashed by those perpetrating the scam.)
2. A contract with a company should always be signed BEFORE money changes hands. THE RED FLAG - the artist who comes to your house to wrap your car will bring the ad contracts with him.
3. Find out who you're working with and do your research. THE RED FLAG - The first two emails came from one email and the rest came from another similar email. Also the company website for the product ad that my car would be wrapped with does not look very legitimate.
4. Examine everything carefully. THE RED FLAG - The name on the check was unrelated to the car wrap ad campaign, was from another state (Hawaii), and was signed with what looked to be a computer-generated signature that was hard to read.

At this point, he is still emailing me asking me when I can get to the "available funds" in my account. I've told him the bank has not released the funds to me yet. I hope they catch him!
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12 comments:

  1. OMG, So happy you figured this out before it was too late. I hope they catch him!

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  2. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. The bad guys are getting smarter and smarter.

    Besos, Sarah
    Blogger at Journeys of The Zoo

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  3. Geez. What an ordeal! Isn't it amazing the lengths people will go to to make money?? I can see why you deposited the check though. It's not unusual to receive prizes through the mail.

    Good job listening to that little voice that said "Wait a minute..."

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    1. Not intending to "nit-pick", Ann, but the bottom-feeders that run these scams are not "making money", they are stealing money...and usually from those who are least likely to be able to afford the hit. They are the same type of scum who pull lottery scams on people in nursing homes. IMO they should be chastised, ostracized and imprisoned.

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  4. wow! I got an email like this about doing a wrap for monster energy Drink. Probably the same scam. They offered $300 a month and I got two emails about it. The first one I just deleted thinking it was spam but the next one I actually opened and read. Just never followed through on it. thanks for posting about it!

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  5. Another variation on this particular scam will use checks from major corporations like Coke, Pepsi or Google. Often times the check clears from the originating company and everything looks good until a month or two later when the internal accountants find the duplicate checks. It could potentially be more than 60 days before the THEFT is discovered but you end up with the same result. The THIEF is gone and you are stuck with the debt. Way to go, Lisa!

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  6. WOW, thanks for sharing that with us. I am glad you were able to take care of it before anything else happened.

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  7. wow,glad you were able to stop the check and help out that other person.

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  8. Oh geeze, good for you for stopping it!!!

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  9. Thanks for posting about this! I hope they catch those scamming thieves!

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  10. Thanks for sharing. Hope he gets caught, that's just wrong. So how do they get your email?

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