There are times when a scam is completely new, but those instances are exceedingly rare. For the most part, “new” scams use tried-and-true methods to lure victims, and it usually doesn’t take long for a “new” scheme to enter familiar territory.
One “new” con is the Car Wrap Advertising Scam. It starts with an emailed offer to earn $400+ per week just to drive your own car with graphics from an energy drink or other company plastered all over it. It’s a novel offer, and it appears many of the emails are well-written and devoid of the broken English, weird tabbing/spacing and initial “Greetings!” salutation.
However, there are already three warning signs, and that’s without even looking at an actual example:
- The offer arrives via email
- They’re offering a lot of money for zero work
- Energy drink companies are, above all else, extremely image-conscious; they’re not going to send random people offers to wrap their cars if there’s any chance their logo might end up on some sketchy old pickup with rust holes a house cat could climb through.
So that last one’s a bit trickier, but still: at this point your inner “Scam Radar” should at least be registering that something isn’t quite right.
What happens if you respond to the message?
They send you a cashier’s check for a few thousand dollars. They tell you it’s your first payment in advance, and that the excess is for the graphic designer who will be applying the graphics to your car.
Can you guess what the victim’s next instructions are? (Hint: at this point, your inner Scam Radar should be on the brink of blowing up, because you’ve heard of this one before.)
If you said, “Wire the excess money to a stranger,” you win a shiny new silver dollar.*
It’s the secret shopper scam all over again: cash this check, wire it to us, find out a week later the check was fraudulent and you’re out several thousand dollars.
So today’s lesson is: beware of old scams wrapped in new, hip, edgy energy drink graphics.
*You don’t actually win a shiny new silver dollar.