NCL warns of bogus car advertising schemes

Thursday, December 01, 2011

 

Our friends at the National Consumers League (NCL) Fraud Center have alerted consumers to a situation that has scammers driving away with victims' cash in bogus car advertising schemes. The fraud capitalizes on a form of advertising in which cars are wrapped in advertisements. For businesses, these ads are a unique marketing opportunity. For consumers, getting paid to turn their car into a rolling advertisement can be a way to effortlessly earn some extra money. The deal is so appealing that waiting lists are reportedly years-long and advertisers get to be choosy about the types of cars they work with and the number of miles drivers must commit to.

Unfortunately, scammers have recently started to catch on to the popularity of these car advertisement programs among consumers. In the last month, NCL's Fraud Center has received a number of complaints from consumers who were the victim of a variation on the fake check work-at-home scam involving these ads. (For more on fake check scams, visit fakechecks.org.)

Jennifer P. from Massachusetts told NCL's Fraud Center how the scam goes down. Jennifer saw an ad on Craigslist that falsely claimed Monster Energy Drink was looking for people to advertise on their cars, offering a $300 payment in return. After she emailed the contact, she was sent a check made out for $1,900, allegedly to cover the costs of both installing the advertisement and Jennifer's payment. She was instructed to cash the check, take out her payment and wire the remainder to the "support team" for the advertising campaign. Unfortunately for Jennifer, after she wired the money, she found out that the check was a fake and was left owing her bank $1,900. And the crooks got away with cash from the wire transfer.

NCL says its Fraud Center has received similar complaints from consumers who allegedly have been asked to participate in a fake Red Bull Energy Drink advertising program and numerous reports of the scam have emerged on message boards online since August of this year.

Bottom line: Consumers should never have to pay funds from their personal checking accounts to participate in these advertising campaigns. Any request to wire money to someone you don't know should be considered a major red flag.

Consumers who have been approached by or been a victim of this scam, or any other scam, should make an online report to NCL's Fraud Center.

 

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