Have you seen a vehicle driving around town covered in advertisements? In some instances, the entire car has been draped with an advertising “wrap” that effectively turns the whole vehicle into a moving, street-legal billboard. People who see these cars pass by invariably think “Why would someone do that to their vehicle?”
Money, of course.
Unfortunately, these moving advertisements have led to a level of fraud and criminal activity that has only been exacerbated by the Internet.
In the rubric of white collar crimes, the most common type of offense is fraud. This is largely because there are so many methods – from mail fraud to bank fraud to check fraud to various Internet crimes. One such crime is an email scam centering on “car wrap advertising.”
Consumer Affairs described an email like this:
“That email had this subject heading: “FWD: Street King Energy Drink ® Car Wrap Offer, $350 weekly! You might be Interested!” But I opened it anyway and found a badly written paragraph extolling the virtues of car-wrap advertising for drivers and sellers alike.”
While car-wrap advertising is a legitimate job, these positions are not usually filled by random email blasts. The big clue, here, lies in the finances. If readers respond to the job offer, they will likely receive a very professional-looking check for thousands of dollars. The instructions are often to deposit the check, keep a certain percentage as your payment and transfer the remainder to a graphic artist (usually named in the email) who can bring the supplies and attach the vinyl to your car. While this might seem like an overly complicated transaction, many people are blinded by the prospect of easy money.
These individuals, following the instructions to the letter, will soon find out that the original check was fraudulent. The thousands of dollars they believed they were depositing were non-existent. Trying to track down the sender of the original email can prove almost impossible.
Advance-fee scams have been around for decades in one form or another. The car-wrap version of the scam seems to be one of the most recent. Look out for suspicious email messages or texts offering you the deal of a lifetime.