Drive for long enough in any good-sized city, and you're likely to see a car that's been wrapped in an advertisement. Unfortunately, scammers have started to catch on to the popularity of bogus work opportunities on car ads.
For businesses, these ads are a unique marketing opportunity. For consumers, getting paid to turn their car into a rolling advertisement can be a way to effortlessly earn some extra money. The deal is so appealing that waiting lists are reportedly years-long and advertisers get to be choosy about the types of cars they work with and the number of miles drivers must commit to.
NCL's Fraud Center has received a number of complaints from consumers who were the victim of a variation on the fake check work-at-home scam involving these ads. (For more on fake check scams, visit fakechecks.org.)
Jennifer P. from Massachusetts told us how the scam goes down. She saw an ad on Craigslist that falsely claimed Monster Energy Drink was looking for people to advertise on their cars, offering a $300 payment in return. After she emailed the contact, she was sent a check made out for $1,900, allegedly to cover the costs of both installing the advertisement and Jennifer's payment. She was instructed to cash the check, take out her payment and wire the remainder to the "support team" for the advertising campaign. Unfortunately for Jennifer, after she wired the money, she found out that the check was a fake and was left owing her bank $1,900. And, of course, the crooks got away with cash from the wire transfer.
NCL's Fraud Center has received similar complaints from consumers allegedly asked to participate in fake Red Bull Energy Drink advertising program and numerous reports of the scam have emerged on message boards online since August 2013.
Consumers should never have to pay funds from their personal checking accounts to participate in these advertising campaigns. Any request to wire money to someone you don't know should be considered a major red flag. Consumers who have been approached by or been a victim of these scammers should report it to NCL's Fraud Center.