Why you should be wary of car-wrap advertising gigs

Have you seen ads online offering to pay you for wrapping your car in a company's ad? Read this before you apply.

Adobe

These days it seems everyone is looking for a side hustle, whether it is driving for Uber, delivering for Amazon or making money by putting ads on your car.

One of those three is likely a scam, however. Vickie Gildea of North Bend, Ohio, just learned which one.

Gildea was frustrated with the monthly payment on her Ford Edge. That’s when she saw an ad on Facebook for getting paid to place ads on your car.

“It would pay $500 a month,” she said. “And I could do it for one month or 3 months.”

Job opportunity or scam?

So she applied, and soon received an email saying, “Congratulations! It sounds like you qualify.”

Gildea says the man who contacted her was very thorough. He asked what kind of SUV she had, if it was clean and what her driving record was like.

“It was very much on the up-and-up at first, asking if I had had any wrecks for a while, and whether I drive my car very much,” she said.

Shortly afterward, she says, she received an overnight package.

Inside was a check for more than $4,000 to pay a detailer to wrap the car with ads for Casio wrist watches.

“They said I should deposit the whole thing,” she said. “I would keep a few hundred and send them $3,700.”

Something seemed strange, so she called a friend.

“She got on the phone and said, ‘Vick, don’t do it, it’s a scam,'” Gildea said.

Good advice. The Better Business Bureau says this is the “car wrap scam.” The check is fake, and will bounce after you wire your own money to the bogus detail shop.

The BBB says sports watches, energy drinks and other companies don’t solicit people to advertise on their cars.

It’s very unusual for a company to allow non-employees to drive cars with their logo on it, because of liability and the risk that you have an accident.

But Gildea says the scam feels so real that it’s easy to fall for.

So be suspicious of car advertising offers, so you don’t waste your money.

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