Updated: November 2019
Please read below. These are ALWAYS scams and there are no legitimate opportunities to get paid by food & beverage companies to wrap your personal vehicle in an advertisement. These are wire/check fraud scams.
These scams have continued to evolve to use text messages / SMS as the mode of delivery and additional companies, but most commonly they are for energy drink or sports drink companies that no longer exist.
Have you seen ads promising easy money if you shrink-wrap your car — with ads for brands like Monster Energy, Red Bull, Kronik, 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 or because you posted your phone number or email in a public forum (which you should not do).
How the scam works
The message says you’ll make a couple hundred dollars by wrapping your vehicle. 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.
In the end, you are left holding the bag as it will be nearly impossible to recoup your lost money.
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?
What do do if it has happened to you
You can file a complaint at ftc.gov/complaint — select Scams and Rip-offs, then Counterfeit Checks.
However, most of these scams are being executed by people overseas in countries like Nigeria. As mentioned before, you won't get your money back and there is, in a practical sense, little that can be done to stop this. Even if word gets out through articles like this, the scammers will simply move on to another variation as there are countless fake check scams.
Best advice: use your head and realize that if something sounds to good to be true that's because it's not.