6 Investigates: Car wrap advanced fee scam targets man’s teen grandson

Investigations

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Recently, there’s been a sudden increase in letters being sent to people offering to pay them to wrap their cars with advertisements.

The payoff for the owner of the rolling billboard is a paycheck of $600, which doesn’t sound bad — except, it’s a scam.

WATE 6 On Your Side’s Don Dare spoke with a man whose grandson received a “check” for nearly $4,000. The instructions given in the letter would have you believe some easy money can be made. But this scam is nothing more than a variation of the same old advanced-fee “fake check scam.”

The car Marvin Dotson purchased for his 18-year-old grandson, Seth, was a graduation gift. Mr. Dotson says the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu has been dependable. Just a few days ago, this letter was sent to Seth along with a sizeable check and some directions to follow.

“The instructions say please read the evaluation instructions below. ‘Dear prospective car wrap advertiser’,” Marvin Dotson said.

Marvin Dotson says his grandson was offered an upfront payment of $700 to wrap his car. There was a check for $3,700 in the letter.

In January of this year, Doug Berry received a similar offer to wrap his car. A text message he was sent said he would make hundreds of dollars within three months. Mr. Berry was given instructions to keep $500 for himself.

For Marvin Dotson’s grandson, the charge to wrap his car — well, the price has gone up since January.

The Federal Trade Commission says to be wary of businesses that send unsolicited offers. Be suspicious when dealing with someone you can’t reach directly by telephone. And never pay in advance by money order or moneypak card.

Dotson warned his grandson about the scam so he wouldn’t lose any money.

“I’m sure there are other people who have fallen for this. I don’t want someone else to fall for it,” Marvin Dotson said.

For someone who does fall victim to this scam, once you cash, or deposit a fake check, you’ll have to pay the bank the value of the check when it eventually bounces.

Now, the car wrap hoax mainly targets young people, a group known to look for ways to make a few extra dollars.

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