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Have you seen ads promising easy money if you shrink-wrap your car — with ads for brands like Monster Energy, Red Bull, or Pepsi? The “company” behind the ads says all you have to do is deposit a check, use part of it to pay a specified shrink-wrap vendor, and drive around like you normally would. But don’t jump onto the bandwagon. It’s only easy money for the scammer who placed the ads.

How you spot the “offer”

You might see an ad on a job board or on social media. Or someone might send you a message — maybe because they saw your profile or resume on a job site.

How the scam works

The message says you’ll make a couple hundred bucks. But when the “company” sends you a check, it’s for much more than that — a couple thousand dollars. They tell you to deposit the check, keep part of it as your share, and wire the rest to another company that will wrap your car.

Weeks after you wire the money, the check bounces and your bank tells you it was a fake. The money you kept as “your share” disappears, and the money you wired is long gone — no getting it back. On top of that, you’re on the hook for paying your bank back for the fake check. And, of course, no one’s wrapping your car.

How you can tell it’s a scam

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. And if this were a legitimate car wrap opportunity, wouldn’t the company directly pay the car-wrapping vendor, instead of asking you to do it?

Has this happened to you? File a complaint at ftc.gov/complaint — select Scams and Rip-offs, then Counterfeit Checks. Want to know more? Read our articles to learn how to spot variations on fake checks and money wiring scams.

1,192 Comments

wizard75
August 03, 2016

Question: I have 2 phone lines available. Why don't YOU have a phone # that goes DIRECT to a person?? That way, when I get a robo-call, I could call YOU direct so you could trace the call while I played along with the robocaller. Maybe that way some of these clowns could be caught & prosecuted. TX

Tmike
August 03, 2016

In reply to by wizard75

I'm with you-what can we do - is anyone ever prosecuted?
Coolcarl46
August 03, 2016

In reply to by Tmike

I contacted monster drinks they said they use company owned cars only and regular employees not the public or contractors.
Asmalls7
September 20, 2017

In reply to by Coolcarl46

Hello Coolcar46 my question is monster drinks do wrap people cars and pay them 350.00 dollars a week is a scam
raizen31
November 07, 2017

In reply to by Asmalls7

Bull light are currently seeking to employ car owners world wide. you will need to carry this promotional advert on the exterior of your car and you will be compensated with $500 per week which is essentially a "rental"payment for letting our company use the space of your car, no application fees required from you. we would be paying you by check and would want you to get back to us with your Name: Street Address: City:and cell phone State: Zip code: to send you the check and also send your Age: Current Occupation: Make of car/ year:. We will contact you immediately we receive this information Note: We take full responsibility for placing and remove decal on your car and it will not resort to any damage. Thanks Received this from one Andy Philips who posted on a Job board today. Says he work for Bud Light & from San Diego
Angry32
November 19, 2017

In reply to by raizen31

I just got the same message from the same person
Tumbleweed378
December 27, 2018

In reply to by Angry32

I just gotta check from a company, saying its for my first weeks pay, which is supposed to be $400. But the check is for $1750. Its drawn on a bank in Alabama,& the acct info in the top corner is from some place that does returns for insurance over payments or premium adjustments ect. The senders return address is a p.o. box rental in los angeles, ca. When i tried actually calling the number that texted me, it went to an answering svc called "global connect" thats supposed to connect you to the number. Would it even do any good to contact the police?
Cootapioca
November 01, 2019

In reply to by Angry32

I have someone Portraying Bud Ight car wrap as well. Through SMS text..#208-680-1299 .About 2 yrs ago. I had peope send me ov 9000 $ worth of checks for wrap techs to install on my car...I called one of the Banks (1500mi from my home).And they said its a scam throw the check away.?I was flabergasted the Bank Couldnt cared less about me or the actua acct info on the checks.
Jena.b
November 27, 2017

In reply to by raizen31

I got the same response. Did you look into it further? Do you know if this is a scam?
Littlemannc
July 01, 2019

In reply to by Samiasmom

I kust received a check for 3000 something didnt add up Googled it and my suspicion was right. I saw that budlight doesn't do that. Will check with my local pd in the morning
peeka 6@5
July 21, 2020

In reply to by Littlemannc

They almost got me but they gotta be quicker than that!!! People if it sounds to good to be true then it probably is
enlightn1
January 10, 2020

In reply to by Myname

Be very careful with these overpayment scams. Not only will the banks take back the money, they will also close your account and ban you from banking with them- forever- for being careless. You will be violating your agreement with them. This happened to me.
Karen1
January 23, 2020

In reply to by enlightn1

The same thing happened to me my bank said I could never bank there again because I deposited a check for over 3000 and it bounced. I just got a secret shopper check on the mail about a week ago it's a scam I believe as well not doing it again.
Lum&lock
August 05, 2020

In reply to by Karen1

I received oa chk for1587 for se retshopper for Walmart. It's a scam
xxx
August 21, 2020

In reply to by Lum&lock

i just received a check over $5000 . the guy told me to make 5 $1000 money orders and send them overnight w fedex. but i came to this page and he’s doing this same thing w every comment i’ve read
Nubbin56
November 05, 2020

In reply to by Myname

Who was the check from? I received a check from an attorney office out of Tempe, AZ
Crux8375
November 25, 2020

In reply to by Samiasmom

I'm in the middle of that scam I have reported it but they still want me to get the cash out of my bank and mail it somewhere to a different state not a decal company in my state not even a decal company. Just somebody's name and address So John Ambrose is calling and texting from the number 978-364-9671
Hilary in Seattle
April 28, 2021

In reply to by Crux8375

I just deposited that same check.. what happens now??
Teelahk
October 07, 2020

In reply to by Jena.b

I have had two different ones contact me. Polar Spring Water and Body Armor I took the water check to my bank because I called the issuing bank and they said it was a good check. I love my Bank. She asked me about the check and I told her all I knew and she told me about the scams! I have done the advertising before so I wasn’t suspicious as everything was similar. My other job was legit Needless to say we caught a scammer !!
G
November 20, 2017

In reply to by raizen31

I’m hard on money an Christmas is coming so I signed up to get wrapped by Budweiser I sent them $1400 out of the $3900 check and then my little brother tells me check it out make sure it’s not a scam so I called the bank my bank and they told me the check hasn’t bounced so I called the guy back and I tell him is this some kind of scam or what and hangs up on me the letter said Robert Martinez. Head of operation:Exclusive Research LLC an He was using QRD Graphics
djreynolds23
November 24, 2017

In reply to by G

this is happening to me as we speak .. i told the guy i would not deposit the check into my account.. he said that was ok.. he said i could go and cash check at a check cashing place.. and then take my $500 and send the rest through money gram.. so if it’s a scam then i’m confused.. if i get my money first without having to mess with my bank account.. help me understand.
FTC Staff
November 30, 2017

In reply to by djreynolds23

Weeks after you wire the money, the check bounces and your bank tells you it was a fake. The money you kept as “your share” disappears, and the money you wired is long gone — no getting it back. On top of that, you’re on the hook for paying your bank back for the fake check. And, of course, no one’s wrapping your car.

cat
January 26, 2018

In reply to by FTC Staff

What I don’t understand is that a check needs to clear meaning the bank has cleared it with the bank on the check. How can they weeks later say it’s no good?
FTC Staff
January 29, 2018

In reply to by cat

Under federal law, banks generally must make funds available to you from U.S. Treasury checks, most other governmental checks, and cashier’s checks, certified checks, and teller’s checks, a business day after you deposit the check.

For other checks, banks must make the first $200 available the day after you deposit the check. The remaining funds must be made available on the second business day after the deposit.

However, just because funds are available on a check you deposited does not mean the check is good. It’s best not to rely on money from any type of check (cashier, business or personal check, or money order) until the bank confirms that the check has cleared. It can take weeks to discover and untangle a forgery. Until the bank confirms that the funds from the check have been deposited into your account, you are responsible for any funds you withdraw against that check.

Joy
June 12, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

I had a check sent to me for $1850, from Rockstar energy drink. My bank held the check for 21 days til it cleared, I couldn't take any funds out before it cleared my bank had my back just in case it was a fraudulent check. They( ppl who sent it was P.O and told them I can't take any funds out until the check CLEARS. Your bank can easily run the routing number and bank account number of the check to see if it's fake. Mine wasn't fake however I knew that they were a scam and I didn't send any money to them. They got scammed instead. I knew it was a scam because No job or company pays you upfront without working. Secondly when I got it I had to text the number they gave me, tell person the check number and then I got another person that contacted me. Then I got the emails giving me instructions sending X amount to some dude in Texas for the wrapping. Thanks scammers for the free money. My advice deposit it BUT DONT TOUCH IT(MY BANK FROZE IT UNTIL IT CLEARED) WHEN IT DOES you just got free money from ppl who scammed you. Boy person was PO when i said bank is holding it and by federal law they can hold it for 10-45 days til it CLEARS. I like credit unions policies, unlike other banks. Hope this helps.
Cassandra,
June 19, 2020

In reply to by Joy

I go through a credit union also and right now they're holding my check for $10 some odd days and they have a routing number that is incorrect so that is holding it up
Rxwoman
July 26, 2020

In reply to by Joy

Joy, I am wondering how the check actually cleared? Did it turn out to be a stolen check or something?
Mofo7
October 23, 2020

In reply to by Joy

This is exactly my thoughts on it I just got a check for over 3000 so what do I tell my bank to do
SWHIT2021
June 15, 2021

In reply to by Joy

So what do I need to do? I have one for a real bank but I dont know if it is a scam or not.
jfab
May 08, 2018

In reply to by cat

Whenever you cash or deposit a check, you are taking the risk of whether or not it is legitimate. Someone in the gov't said one day to banks that you can't make people wait for their money, so the banks 'loan' you the value of the check until it clears, transferring the risk entirely onto you. If you remember the days pre-debit and heavy credit card use, if you paid by check, stores would scan the check and run it against a database of known bad accounts or people who where notorious check bouncers to protect themselves from fraud. While you can call the issuing bank to make sure the accounts associated with the check are legit, there is no way to insure that the check is not fraudulent.
Suzieq
January 08, 2020

In reply to by jfab

I don't understand why you all don't find out at the moment youtry to deposit it that it's a fake or scam. I had someone send me a $3500 check to do "claims" for their company. I was to take my $500 out and send the rest to some place that was supposed to send me the "claims" I was to enter but I took the check to my bank and the cashier entered the check info into the system and told me right then the check was a scam and stamped void on it.
Me
August 07, 2018

In reply to by cat

I went through the same thing, I deposited the check waited 24 hours saw it cleared and was in my account, I took out the money and sent it through money gram and 5 hours later I get a call from my bank saying the check was no good, now I owe the bank thousand of dallied. I think the bank should have knew if it was real before giving me the money but nothing I can do now but pay them. The scammer got me don’t be there fool like I was.
luvlelesa
December 18, 2018

In reply to by cat

My bank is waiting for this check to clear. They assure me this is a scam, but they are aware and will not charge me for deposit of the check. I have not spent any of the money , but there is no real bank on the other side of the check to confirm it is real
jcslickscam61
May 23, 2019

In reply to by cat

I to have been mailed a check over $4000 to wrap my car from rush energy drink I am to deposit the check and keep $500 of it and pay the person who wraps my car the rest, theres a phone # to fax my deposit slip to after I mark all my account info off of it when I call the fax # a man answers it you can barely understand him and there are little kids screaming in the back ground some official business huh don't do it therr are companys that do pay you something for doing this but there is a very long waiting list and they only pay about $100- $200 ty for listening I wish there was something that can be done about these scams
BH1
May 01, 2020

In reply to by jcslickscam61

I recieved a check for 3650 to have my car wrapped in duncan donut wrapper I was told to deposit it and keep 500 for my first weeks paymen! What should I do! I checked the company name and the bank and its a legitament name! Is it real or too good to be true! Someone give me some advice please I don't know what to do but this money sure is tempting!!!!
Seus23
June 29, 2020

In reply to by BH1

Thank you for the information I did receive a check I knew it was a scam too good to be true.
Itsascam
September 29, 2020

In reply to by BH1

Don't do it. You will get hit with a bounced check fee once it bounces. What will happen next is they will want you to wire money back to them to cover the wrap. If you go that far then the check will eventually bounce and you will be responsible for the money you sent
Prettystuff2914
May 06, 2020

In reply to by jcslickscam61

Thank you so much for the information. You just saved me a huge mistake, as I just recieved a check from them for almost 3000.00.. ty ty ty
Michael
May 12, 2020

In reply to by jcslickscam61

Contact the Postmaster, they take this very serious and know how to get convictions. It's called wire fraud.
danvel98
September 22, 2020

In reply to by jcslickscam61

We must’ve got the same guy because the same exact thing happened to me today.. a few weeks ago, I received a check of 2500 & the check has been pending since. The guy I talked to over the phone had an accent as well & sounded like he was Jamaican. Also, very clingy & terrible texter.. I heard kids cry in the background while he was going off on me over the phone telling me he was going to take my address & number, forward it to their “gangsters” and call a hit on me and my family.. I later got the police involved and they told me it was a scam & it’s all talk just to get people scared to fall for the scam.
NBJob2A
December 02, 2017

In reply to by djreynolds23

If they ask youbtobkeep part of money and send thevrest somewherevelse it's a scam. I just got one and they didn't ask me to send money back but it is still probably a scam.
debo1961
December 25, 2018

In reply to by NBJob2A

I was also asked to allow someone here tip wrap my car. They said it would be one of their people that would wrap after christmas. But that I would be sent certified check for 600 weekly as long as I chose to show the advertising on my car. Weird.... i'm waiting I don't this is real. I told him if my questions to him seemed nervous was he worried about me asking questions, he said no. I told him then there doesnt be a problem
Rollenerussell
October 14, 2019

In reply to by NBJob2A

I received one as well, and they didnt ask me to send anything to anyone either.
Surrealist
December 15, 2017

In reply to by djreynolds23

I would not trust it. You would still be liable to the check cashing place when it bounces and they may file charges. Age old working class rule....... there is no such thing as easy money.
Kano
March 25, 2019

In reply to by Surrealist

I,m waiting on a check as we speak sent USPS. What should I do.