LOS ANGELES, Calif. (WATE) — You have likely seen them on the highway — cars and trucks wrapped with an advertisement. It’s a quick way to make money while driving, but for scammers, this is also an easy way to make money for those unfamiliar with the hoax.
This seems to be a scam that won’t go away; on social media, you may have seen the ads promising easy money if you shrink-wrap your car. The so-called company behind the ads says once you get a check from them, all you have to do is deposit it, use part of the money to pay a specified shrink-wrap vendor, and drive around like you normally would. A few days ago, a man called thanking WATE 6 On Your Side for saving him a lot of money after viewing one of our reports.
From his office in Los Angeles, Vernal Bowens said he answered an ad on Facebook about how to make money wrapping your vehicle. “It threw me for a loop there because I thought I was in something that was legit and hey, I can make some extra money while being at work,” Bowens said.
Soon, he was sent a check for $5,550 and was given instructions on what to do next. He explained, “We want you to deposit the check. They said call this number or send your name to this number saying that you received the check. The next thing, I received a text also they asked for my phone number. And also specify the amount of money from the check. I’m like, amount of money, so you guys don’t know how much money you sent me?”
Bowens said it was this Youtube video (below), that he saw of Doug Berry, who was also sent a check, a phony one in advance. He was also told all correspondence would be by text and he received half a dozen of them just like Bowens.
Bowens said when he watched the video, and Berry’s explanation of how the scam worked, he knew it was phony. “Once I deposit it, I would contact the number there. Then they said take $550 out for yourself which is one week’s pay. Then they wanted me to contact the wrapper, the wrap company that would wrap my vehicle and pays them the rest of the portion.”
There are legitimate wrapping businesses, even in East Tennessee. Steve Carroll operates the Great American Sign Company in Knoxville, but he will not send you a check in advance to do business with him.
Back in Los Angeles, Bowens said he did not follow the instructions and was grateful he watched Berry’s story.
Remember this, if you get a message urging you to deposit a check and wire money back, it’s a scam — every time, no matter the story. One other thing, in East Tennessee, business managers say it’s more profitable to wrap a private vehicle in a large city, like Atlanta, Washington D.C., or LA because there are a lot more vehicles on the highways there, compared to the Knoxville area.