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If you have a car, you know how expensive the upkeep can be. Gas, maintenance, parking – the whole lot. So what if a company offered to pay you to drive around – which you were already doing – with their branding wrapped onto your car? It could sound like a good deal.

We’ve heard about some car wrap scams that have targeted college students, a group known to look for ways to make a few extra bucks. The gist of the scam is this: The scammers send emails with messages like “GET PAID TO DRIVE.” They offer to pay you $250-$350 a week if you’ll drive around with your car (or truck or motorcycle) wrapped to advertise a well-known product – or even an event like the 2020 Olympics.

If you bite, they’ll send you a check to deposit into your bank account. Then they’ll tell you to use some of that money so a “specialist” can put the ads on your car. And they’ll tell you to pay by money order, Walmart money services, or by making a cash deposit directly into the “specialist’s” bank account – all ways that are hard to cancel or get your money back.

For a lot of people, it’s only once their money is gone – and no car wrap materializes – that they figure out the “specialist” is really the scammer. And that check they deposited is a fake. Which also means the bank will take back the amount of that fake check…leaving people out even more money. Here’s how that works:

Infographic describing how fake check scams work

Spotted a scam like this? We want to hear about it. Let us know at

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RoyalsFanKC (not verified)
December 12, 2019
I'm curious, what happens if the person (victim) receives their money... then doesn't follow the instructions. Do they become the scammer...?
FTC Staff
December 13, 2019

In reply to by RoyalsFanKC (not verified)

You are responsible for the checks you cash or deposit. If you cash or deposit a fake check, you'll have to repay the bank the value of the check when it eventually bounces. Your bank might charge you a fee for cashing or depositing a bad check, or close your account.

AwKennonDon't … (not verified)
December 16, 2019

In reply to by RoyalsFanKC (not verified)

The checks never clear. Ever. So the recipient of the check doesn’t get the opportunity to keep the “money.”
Gator76 (not verified)
May 22, 2020

In reply to by AwKennonDon't … (not verified)

Oh yes, some of the checks do clear. My company (a small business) was the victim of such a scam where checks were created using my account information. Still fighting this with my bank!
I'm Kitti (not verified)
June 20, 2020

In reply to by RoyalsFanKC (not verified)

No! You shred the check & as I did, I just left a message at "bang Energy " if you cash the check. You have to pay back the bank or they will close your account & it will be on your banking record & it will be very hard to get an account at any bank!
Irene (not verified)
December 13, 2020

In reply to by RoyalsFanKC (not verified)

No , it's not like a pyramid scam. Check with your bank . If they can't authenticate the check then it's a scam , shred it. If you are contacted again by the same person, ask them to contact you by voice telephone.If not block them.
busha (not verified)
April 28, 2021

In reply to by RoyalsFanKC (not verified)

It depends on what you do with the check. If you deposit or cash it, you will be paying to cover it. If you toss it, nothing happens. Best to just toss it, or turn it over to authorities.
The Shadow (not verified)
December 12, 2019
How do these scammers stay in business?
RTBeatz (not verified)
April 24, 2020

In reply to by The Shadow (not verified)

By preying on people who fall for it everyday. So wise up people and make sure u share the nature of these scams with as many people as u can in order to help them become aware of what these sweet deals really arent.
Fred/Mary195366$ (not verified)
December 12, 2019
Been there once and lost $199 and I only got $30 and bank closed my account and I get scammer on messenger and text twice a month wanting different amounts of money from $200 to $2000 using my lest contact friend on Facebook or messenger and messenges
Lullabelle (not verified)
December 12, 2019
I get texts like this weekly. It is so annoying. Often times, it is sent in a group message. Luckily my messages app just recently made it possible to report messages in group messages as spam/scams.
Evelyn Faust (not verified)
December 12, 2019
My question is how do you get a legit car wrap like I have seen on cars on the highway?
cindy.falter (not verified)
December 13, 2019
I also had one girl that wanted me to walk from my house to Tops to get a money order to send her for some scam, while staying on my home phone. I really got a good laugh about that one. I wasn't about to walk a half an hour to Top's in the winter and carry my house phone with me to send her money. I forgot what the money was supposed to be for, a free trip that wasn't free or something like that. Some of them are so stupid you have to laugh .
twinkie3811 (not verified)
December 13, 2019
Those idiot's calls me 3 to 4 weekly. That's why I'm changing my number.
Anteek (not verified)
December 13, 2019

In reply to by twinkie3811 (not verified)

Changing your number won't help...robo-callers use dialing algorithms to process through any combination of numbers. You'll get them no matter what your phone number is.
Anan61vp! (not verified)
December 13, 2019
I've listened to the reports thru the years about Scams to the public and how people have gotten taken for probably millions of dollars now. I just happen to work for the Government and have had many years to be made aware of these Scams because they are getting into the Government too, but because we are Human, we all can get close to or get fooled. My time is now with looking for a part-time job for the Holidays, with what I thought sounded good with a Car Wrap offer and I wouldn't have to work hard to earn a few dollars, I took the bait(still being leary as the days went on)up until they sent the letter and a big check, but here's where I stopped and decided to check some things out, I go to the bank but not to make a deposit, to instead take the letter and check to a Representative and Verify that this is exactly what it is and I needed someone else besides myself to see what was sent to me. I made copies of the material for myself, sent a text message of pictures to family and even Contacted the actual Company that this supposed Specialist was Representing. I asked their Customer Service if this promotion was real and they answered back within the hour that it was a Scam. The Company, Bing Energy Beverage Co. They are not offering a promotional Car Wrap position!!! Almost got caught...what now? Do these people keep trying after they've been found out, what do you do with the Check they sent? Who do you turn it into?
Ashylaw (not verified)
April 09, 2020

In reply to by Anan61vp! (not verified)

I was sent a text tonight. I googled immediately! It was weird since it was a group message with 12 other numbers on there. This is what the text said: Hi, Will you allow Bing Vitamin Energy Drink to put a small sticker on your Car for $500 Weekly View below link for info.. LINK Should i reply all and tell them not to fall for it?
KickStart (not verified)
December 13, 2019
It would seem to me that if everyone continued to take the fake checks, then do nothing, the scammers would lose money on materials and stamps. Maybe I don’t fully understand the associated hassle.
Worried Mom's (not verified)
February 25, 2020

In reply to by KickStart (not verified)

I have 4 of those checks right now. Two for $2900, and two for $2495. I just received them in 2020, all within the first 39 days of the year. Scammers are on their job.
Allensmith (not verified)
June 03, 2020

In reply to by Worried Mom's (not verified)

The easiest way to spot a scam is to read the "webpage" telling about the product. The spelling, grammar and punctuation is worse than mine !
PJ reports (not verified)
August 06, 2020

In reply to by Allensmith (not verified)

Very true, also pay close attention to text messages and look at the vocabulary. I just received a check for 2550.00 with a letter telling me what steps to take next. They also have been texting me asking if I had done it and to make sure I do it ASAP, lol I’ve been stringing them along for a few days now making sure to gather what information I can. I’ve already reported it on here as well.
Gator48 (not verified)
December 14, 2019
Ninety nine percent of my landline calls are for political donations or scams (or both) so I never answer it unless I know who is calling. Saves me a lot of hassle!
LJS974 (not verified)
July 15, 2020

In reply to by Gator48 (not verified)

I never answer my landline for the same reason. I get calls on it from some claiming they are trying to reach me about my social security claim (which I never filed), my student loan forgiveness application (which I never did) and many other scams. I only use my landline when my cell needs charging. I want to get rid of it but I've had it so long.
Don't use your… (not verified)
December 15, 2019
This is what happened to me . I was sent $4000. Dollar check certified mail, my mom signed for it. I was told in the letter to text some one so I did. They said to deposit it into my account and text message when I had. I messaged them that my bank would put a 13 day hold on the check. They tolld me the bank wouldnt. Itook it to the bank asked to teller if the check was good he said it was and would be cleared in the morning. It was and was also taken out of my account. Wells Fargo now has taken my social security check because I couldn't stop the direct deposit on time. Wellfargo said in their letter they could not take my deosits my still did
B Shy (not verified)
January 06, 2020
I was sent a check for $1950 by “ The McCain Family Foundation!” I was to call 323-289-8281 and let them know that I had received it! (FedX) I did then they continuously started texting did I deposit the check! I got text from my daughter about the commission and I told them I’m sending your info to them if they say you’re legitimate I will call you back! No more texts
Christopher B (not verified)
October 30, 2020

In reply to by B Shy (not verified)

I received a cashier check through a priority mail for an amount of $1,950.00 along with the four-step instructions. Sender address: Preservation Company;1214 Meridian st N E Huntsville Al, 25801. I googled the address and it was a vintage goods place. Also a few days ago I received a text from 209-224-0558 asked me to confirm the receipt of the packet. Step one asked to deposit the cashier check to my account and it will clear in two business days. Step two, text or email to confirm of receipt of the packet to 209-224-0558 or david. grag 002@ ...and so on.
ruwats64 (not verified)
January 10, 2020
I was scammed with the car wrap in Aug. 2019. Now I owe the bank 3008.00 dollars. I had to quit my job so I could care for my father with stage 4 colon cancer. I seen the ad and I thought what a great way to earn some money. So I thought. Wrong!!!
S.Brizzi (not verified)
January 23, 2020

In reply to by ruwats64 (not verified)

Has the bank brought charges against you? They are trying to convict my son of fraud and send him to jail. Just curious how you got out of this?
sarlordia (not verified)
January 16, 2020
Could we have permission to use this infograph for internal and external education at a credit union?
FTC Staff
January 17, 2020

In reply to by sarlordia (not verified)

Thanks for checking, but you don't need permission! All infographics and information from the FTC is free and in the public domain, so please use it however you like. You can download, copy, drop into your newsletter or training materials  ... we're glad that it's useful to you.

We have free print material you can order too at Get brochures, bookmarks and worksheets about money and credit in English and Spanish. The material is free, and shipping is free too. If you have other questions, send another blog comment.

Tina (not verified)
January 18, 2020
I have been dealing with someone who originally text me. I have no idea how he got my cell phone number, however, it was a group text about a Haagen-Daz's ice cream wrap. I didn't think anything about it because it only requested limited information to apply. I then received an e-mail about the program. I have received the whole scam in e-mail about receiving the check by USPS, taking 500.00 out of the funds, and sending the rest of the funds to the person who is suppose to do the wrap. Today I received the USPS envelope! I have not opened it. I am not naive to these scammers. I would love for the FBI or someone to catch these people! If they really want to catch them, there has to be a way! They are printing labels, they are using google voice, and g-mail accounts. A lot of this stuff can be tracked down through IP addresses. Furthermore, if the money is being sent to another address, why isn't someone following up to where the money "us consumers" are suppose to be sending to see who is getting it???? It's been an ongoing problem and I don't understand why these people can't be caught. I have keep all my documentation and I just want to find out who wants to take it serious to protect others.
FTC Staff
January 29, 2020

In reply to by Tina (not verified)

You can report that to law enforcement at The information you give goes into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations.

Nk (not verified)
January 29, 2020
Got this text to my mobile. Earn $600+per week by permitting Bubble Drink put a little decal advert on your Car/Truck. Hours are completely flexible. Drive when you want .Click here to Apply now : / 6yun 2 days later I received a cashiers check for $3680 delivered Fed Ex priority overnight, 2 banks, 3 different addresses, no phone number. I called the IL based bank on the check, 2 Rivers Credit Union the following day and confirmed it was a fake.
LT (not verified)
February 20, 2020

In reply to by Nk (not verified)

A similar thing happened to me, but it was $500 per week for a Mountain Dew Wrap. I got their phone number from the text message, as well as the address on the USPS Priority Mail envelope.
Shaggy713% (not verified)
July 10, 2020

In reply to by Don't use your… (not verified)

I just got the message from Mountain dew as well. Had some guy named Armnett Gallagher text back to me. Main thing that caught my attention is he keeps referring to it as an "advert". That's a very British (or previous colony) way of speaking.
wondering (not verified)
December 09, 2020

In reply to by Don't use your… (not verified)

Then what happened after it cleared?
Newbie (not verified)
February 11, 2021

In reply to by Don't use your… (not verified)

So it cleared, and there were no repercussions? Did you just keep the money?
HelliG (not verified)
February 14, 2020
All completely insane, I have two checks in my possession, which I received one on Thursday and one today. The one I received on Thursday is from LOL The Grecian Steakhouse. Which by the way there are absolutely none of in my area. The second one I received today from dr. Pepper. . The check value together almost $10,000. . $500 a week for me a month in advance and money to pay a shrink wrap guy for my car. Each one is the same but obviously from a different scammer. I'm going to take them both to the bank. On Monday. I texted them both back. I received their checks, but they will not clear yet. Not until next week. I have copies of all of the emails and information and all the addresses and phone numbers. I feel the same way as you guys all do if you Keep all their stuff and don't do anything with it eventually. They give up. My plan. Is to open a second checking account that does not have any of my direct deposit or money in it deposited both checks. . And then do nothing. . What's the worst thing that happens to me? I have a second checking account with nothing in it, LOL. And I can document all of the stuff and send it to the Federal Trade Commission. Hopefully these guys if I can keep them on the line long enough, Will get caught. They know that the banks. Will release at least some of the funds early. , my bank will not release. The whole thing it's over $1,000. They will hold on to some of it and release a small portion. . Which of course I will not spend. . And just continue to keep these guys on the line and hopefully Get both of them caught. . They differed in one particular way, one had me fill out a form like another gentleman said here and the other one was just complete text messages and he actually had my phone number and my address which was scary. . I think the reason is because I don't have anything unlisted and they could find my information out just by looking it up online. I suppose. Anyway. Wish me luck. I hope to catch these creeps. I know some people fall for this stuff. I knew it was a scam right from the beginning. I just had to find a way to keep them both on the line until I can get somebody to look into it. I wonder if the consumer information center here reads these posts if they do. They can contact me.
H. Guerra (not verified)
November 08, 2020

In reply to by HelliG (not verified)

What ever happened with this? I assume you had to pay a fee for depositing a check that bounced right?
DHeat (not verified)
February 19, 2020
Is there anyway to catch the scammer? I received a check yesterday for the car wrap scam. Scammer will be emailing me today to tell me where to send the money.
Worried Mom's (not verified)
February 25, 2020
I've been bombarded with these scammers. To apply Decals on my car, buy Walmart gift cards, even Amazon packages to be delivered. I got used once and I'm still paying to repair my credit. I've been blacklisted by most banks because Chase didn't realize it was a fake check. They sent notice out, and now I can only bank at these off- brand name, one location banks. It's not worth it.
DIZZYsenior (not verified)
February 26, 2020
It seemed too good to be true! Being a senior, it was tempting & the next day received another request for info ---the next text said a check would arrive & Car Wrap Specialist---blah blah...Thank goodness I googled and found out about this scam before any MONEY transactions ---
stop scammer (not verified)
March 04, 2020
how do we stop these scammers. how do i get in touch with the FTC on a possible lead to these scammers
cravenh55 (not verified)
March 09, 2020
Yes I was sent a check to get $500 and let them no when I cashed it and send them the rest for the specialist to come wrap my car
Mojoman521 (not verified)
March 21, 2020
I received a check yesterday , a supposed Twix car wrap. Within minutes of receiving the check via USPS I started getting texts again. They were asking me to deposit the check. I refuse . They were even trying to get me to deposit via ATM. Very persistent to get that check deposited. So does anyone know where I go from here. Burn check, send to the police? Any answers for me?