We do our best around here to keep an eye on the latest scams that are working their way across the country, and if there's one thing to be learned, it's the fact that scams come in all shapes and sizes.

Just look at the stunning amount of scams that were launched with the start of the pandemic. We've seen unemployment scams, stimulus check scams and fraud, charity scams, COVID-19 vaccine scams, and the one that had everyone talking (and in the cases of those scammed, crying): puppy scams. And that's just scratching the surface. For a list of even more, visit the Better Business Bureau's (BBB) ScamTracker page.

Now, a scam that was getting some traction pre-pandemic is making a comeback, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). It's called "The Car Wrap Scam."

On their website, the FTC describes the scam as one that usually gets started with an advertisement on social media that will say something to the effect of "Get Paid To Drive!" The scam is primarily targeted at younger drivers who may have a car but not a job at the current time. With so many people out of work, this scam has a target-rich environment. And, an offer of $700 a week or more to drive around with your car wrapped in advertising decals is enough to get nearly anybody's attention, no matter what their age.

After a would-be victim responds to the ad, the FTC says that the respondent is told that some money will be deposited in their bank account.

Federal Trade Commission:

Then they’ll say to use some of that money to pay their “decal agent” to put the ads on your car. They’ll tell you to pay by money order, Walmart money services, or by making a cash deposit directly into the decal agent’s bank account — all ways that are hard to cancel or get your money back.

And that's when it all starts to go down hill for the victim. Let's say that they deposit $1500 in your bank account. Then they tell you to kick out $500 to the decal agent. You think that you're still ahead of the game with a $1000 dollars to keep, but you're not keeping anything. The check was phony, and the $500 you paid to the decal guy is coming out of your pocket--and you don't get the $1000 left over because it wasn't real to begin with.

The FTC says 20 and 30 year olds are hit hardest by fake check scams, and lost (on average) $1,988 to scams like the Car Wrap Scam.

If you've been contacted by someone offering you a deal like this, please report it to the BBB's ScamTracker or to the FTC.


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