Avoid Car Advertising Wrap Scams

What a deal! You received an email promising a nice payout—hundreds of dollars per week, or even per day—simply to drive your own car around like you normally do, with some beverage company logos applied to the doors, and maybe the hood.

Not so fast. This “offer” has never turned out to be anything other than a counterfeit check scam.

Here’s how it works if you respond: you will be mailed a cashier’s check for thousands of dollars, allegedly to cover the cost of applying the decals to your vehicle, plus your first payment. You are supposed to cash the check, keep a couple hundred, then wire the rest to someone else, supposedly the company that applies the graphics.

So you cash the check and wire the money to someone, then a few days later find out that the check was counterfeit. Not only do you not get to keep your “payment,” if you cashed a check for more than the balance in your account, you now owe your bank the difference. They won’t cover the loss, since you’re the one who brought in the fake check.

While you do occasionally see vehicles covered in energy drink logos, think about what those vehicles look like: generally, heavily customized and lifted pickups, with the color scheme of the logo carried through to the wheels, suspension, and frame. These companies are selling an image and an attitude. They’re not going to select random people, driving who-knows-what, to represent that image.

Plus, the payments are always wildly out of proportion with the potential profits. I have seen these scams promise anywhere from $150 per day all the way up to $600. How many cans of Psycho Lizard Energy Bomb With Ginseng!!! do you think they would have to sell just to break even on one wrapped car at that rate?

But you don’t have to worry about that, because the decal application part never happens. Once you wire the money, you have completed the transaction. The money is gone and the scammer is happy.

There is a general scam prevention principle to remember here, too: “Cash this check, then wire the money to someone” is, was, and always will be a sure sign of fraud. There has never been one case in which those instructions led to something legitimate happening.

(Yes. there ARE legitimate companies that pay people to place ads on their cars. You can expect to earn about $300 per month AT BEST. $10 per day. Not $600. You likely also have to be driving full-time for a rideshare or food-delivery company in a densely populated city to be paid that much.)