ARLINGTON, VA — If you are looking to earn extra money, adding a wrapper to your car to promote a popular drink or food brand may sound like a great gig. BBB Scam Tracker is seeing an uptick in these cons in recent months, as the pandemic has made finding a job even more difficult. But no matter how tough your job search has been, don’t fall for this scam.
How the Scam Works:
You are looking for a job, and you receive a text message or find a website promoting what seems to be a great gig. A major brand is paying people hundreds of dollars a week to wrap their car with the company logo (recent Scam Tracker reports mention food brands RedBull, Utz, and Breyers).
You fill out a form to apply for the gig. Soon after, your new “boss” texts you with instructions about how to get started. The boss will mail you a cashier’s check, which you should deposit to cover your expenses. Then, pay a local vendor through Venmo or Cash App, and they will install the wrapper on your car. Sounds easy enough, right?
The catch is that the check is a fake! If you deposit it, it will appear as if the money is in your bank account. But when the bank realizes the check is counterfeit, you will be on the hook for the balance. In the meantime, the phony car wrapping company will have taken your money and disappeared.
How to protect yourself:
• Know your rights and responsibilities when it comes to using checks. Banks will make the funds from a check available before the money is actually transferred into your account. If you spend the money and the check is a fake, the bank has the right to recover the funds from you. Finding out about a bad check can take weeks, so it’s best to wait 30 days before spending the money from a check if you have any concerns about it.
• Use money transfer apps with friends: Protect yourself from scams by only using money transfer apps for their intended purpose -- sending money to people you personally know.
• Know the red flags of job scams. Watch out for on-the-spot job offers. You may be an excellent candidate for the job but beware of offers made without an interview. A real company will want to talk to a candidate before hiring. Be careful if a company promises you great opportunities or a big income under the condition that you pay for coaching, training, certifications or directories.
For More Information
Learn more about fake check scams and read our tips for using digital wallets, such as Venmo and Cash App. Also, learn more about scams targeting job seekers.
If you’ve spotted a scam (whether or not you’ve lost money), report it to BBB Scam Tracker. Your report can help others avoid falling victim to scams. Find more information about scams and how to avoid them at BBB.org/AvoidScams.