Every year during the holidays, a time when increased costs leave millions of people searching for extra sources of income, new scams emerge aiming to take advantage of people. To remind the public not to trust online solicitors, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a cautionary blog post about email scams, specifically those that offer a seemingly too-good-to-be-true way to make cash fast. A recent scam proposes using automotive wraps as advertisements, but it’s all a lie.

The FTC detailed a recent scam that’s been going around and often targets money-hungry college students. It usually starts with a typical clickbait title such as, “GET PAID TO DRIVE.” Inside the email, a random unidentified sender details how it’s possible to make a few hundred bucks by installing a wrap on the recipient’s vehicle. The wrap would theoretically have a large advertisement on it, thus turning the vehicle into a mobile billboard.

Should a person actually decide to reply and get sucked into the process, here’s what happens next, according to the FTC:

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.

Unfortunately, there is no specialist, there is no wrap, the check you received was fake (and the money null), and now you’re out some cash you just sent to a stranger. To be clear, these types of wraps are real, and many businesses use them on their work vehicles, but these types of emails are not. Never open or reply to these types of emails, and absolutely do not click on any links or send anything. 

The image above is a clip from a much longer infographic. View the entire thing and read more about scams at the FTC.

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