I’ve Tried That Readers, What Should I Do About This Car Wrap Advertising Scam?

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Car wraps and fake checks.

This year, one of the biggest scams around is the car wrap or car advertising scam. In a nutshell, you receive an email asking you if you’d like to make some money by having your car wrapped in a well-known brand logo (e.g., ROCKSTAR Energy Drink). Once you respond, you are sent a check for several thousand dollars and asked to deposit it. You are also asked to keep some money for yourself and wire the remaining cash to a graphic designer. This designer is then supposed to come and decorate your car.

The only problem with this plan is that the check is fake and bounces after a few days of sitting in your bank account. You are left with bounced check fees and your bank hunting after you for the missing money.

Here’s my personal experience with these car wrap scammers:

The Car Wrap Scam

In mid-September, I received an email from “David Christian” that originated from the address patriciabarrington@hotmail.com. The email simply said the following: Would You Wrap Your Car in an Ad for $300 Weekly? After I answered “yes,” I received the following email back:

Hello,

Wrap advertising is the marketing practice of completely or partially covering (wrapping) a vehicle in an advertisement or livery, thus turning it into a mobile billboard. This can be achieved by simply painting the vehicle surface, but it is becoming more common today to use large vinyl sheets as decals. These can be removed with relative ease, making it much less expensive to change from one advertisement to another. Vehicles with large, flat surfaces, such as buses and light-rail carriages, are fairly easy to work with, though smaller cars with curved surfaces can also be wrapped in this manner. Wrap advertising is available to anybody irrespective of the vehicle you drive.

We are currently seeking to employ individuals in the United States of America. How would you like to make money by simply driving your car or banner wrapped for ROCKSTAR Energy Drink®

How it works?
Here’s the basic premise of the “paid to drive” concept: ROCKSTAR Energy Drink® seek residents in the United States who are professional drivers to go about their normal routine as they usually do, only with a big advert for “ROCKSTAR Energy Drink®” plastered on your car. The ads are typically vinyl decals, also known as “auto wraps,”that almost seem to be painted on the vehicle, and which will cover any portion of your car’s exterior surface.

Don’t Have a Car?
If you don’t have a car, you can also participate if you have a bike.

What does the company get out of this type of ad strategy?
Lots of exposure and awareness. The auto wraps tend to be colorful, eye-catching and attract lots of attention. Plus, it’s a form of advertising with a captive audience,meaning people who are stuck in traffic can’t avoid seeing the wrapped car alongside them. This program will last for 3 months and the minimum you can participate is a month.

What is the Contract Duration?
Once the wrap has been installed, minimum term is 4 weeks and maximum is 12 weeks.

Would the wrap/decal damage the paint of my car?
The decal doesn’t damage the paint of car and will be removed by our representative once the contract expire. We will be responsible for installation and removal of the wrap.

You will be compensated with $300.00 per week which is essentially a “rental”payment for letting our company use the space and no fee is required from you. ROCKSTAR Energy Drink® shall provide experts that would handle the advert placing on your car. You will receive an upfront payment of $300.00 in form of a check via courier service for accepting to carry this advert on your car.

It is very easy and simple no application fees required. Get back with the following details if you are interested in this offer.

Applicant information:
Name :
Full Street Address(not PO BOX) :
APT #:
City,State,Zip Code:
Cell Phone Number:
Home Phone Number:
Age:

We shall be contacting you as soon as we receive this information.

Best Regards,
David Christian
Hiring Manager,
ROCKSTAR Energy Drink®

I provided my contact information, after which I received the following email:

Thank you for your swift response and your willingness to work with us. To this effect, you are advise to check your email regularly to get updates as to know when your upfront payment will arrive at your address.

1) You will receive a Check as a form of payment. As soon as you get the check, you will cash it for the decal wrapping on your car and deduct $300.00 as your up-front payment. The rest of the funds from that same check should be transferred to the Graphic artist that will wrap the decal on your vehicle. All you need is to confirm the acceptance and understanding of this email.

2) You will make a transfer of the remaining funds to the Graphic artist via wire transfer at an outlet in your area, the Info which you will make the transfer to will be emailed to you soon.

3) We’ll like you to confirm Information about your vehicle as below:

i) Type of Car and Color :

ii) Model/Year :

iii) Present Condition and the Mileage:

Note: Please, confirm that you did receive this message so that we can process funds that would be sent to you for the car advert.

All other instructions will be sent out to you asap.

I…………..Confirm to have received this email and understand the content.

Best Regards,
David Christian
Hiring Manager,
ROCKSTAR Energy Drink®

The Fake Check Arrives

I confirmed my willingness to work with “ROCKSTAR Energy Drink.” About a week later, I started receiving text messages on my phone from David Christian regarding my upcoming “check”.

Sure enough, when I went home and opened my mailbox, I found a check made out to me in the amount of $2,350. Woo hoo!

Interestingly, the check was made to look like it was coming from BOP, LLC, a legitimate clothing store business here in Madison, Wisconsin. The envelope, however, had a copy of a USPS Priority Mail 2-Day slip on it in which Rudy Grado, at 27405 Sutherland Drive, Warren, MI 48088-6078, was noted as the sender. I took pictures of both the fake check and the envelope it came in and have provided these pictures below. The pink stickies were affixed by me to hide my home address.

car wrap scam

Car wrap advertising scam

I called BOP, LLC and told them that I had received a check from them for the amount of $2,350. The business immediately asked me if my check was blue. I said no; it was actually a green color. The store immediately informed me that the check was fake and I should talk with law enforcement.

Meanwhile, I had David Christian texting me at least twice that day and asking me if I’d received my instructions on what to do with the check. I texted “him” back that I had yet to receive any emailed instructions. Naturally, when I later checked my email I found the following message:

Hello Halina,

Kindly proceed and deposit the check into your bank account and funds will be available for withdrawal 24hrs after it has been deposited. I will be waiting for a confirmation message immediately the check is deposited.

As soon as the cash is out you are to deduct $300.00 which is your upfront payment and forward the balance ($2,050.00) to the graphic artist that will be wrapping the decal on your vehicle via Money Gram and they will also be responsible for removing the decal when the program is completed. Please visit www.moneygram.com to check agent location close to you and make transfer through them.

Below is the name of the receiver. Please note that the transfer charges should be deducted from the remaining $2,050. You are to get back to me with the transfer details (Reference Number and the exact amount sent).

Below is the Graphic Artist Money Gram details to send the Money to

Receiver’s Information:
Name: Sandra Fagan
City: Jacksonville
State: FL
Zip Code: 32210

Kindly get back with the information below once the transfer has been completed.

Reference Number & Total Amount Sent

FAQ: Why am I sending money to Florida? The head office of the graphic artist is in FL.

As soon as payment is acknowledged by them, a local artist in your area will be sent to your address to install the decal wrap on your car. Let me know as soon as the check is deposited today.

If you require additional information, do not hesitate to email or call me.

Best regards,
David Christian
Hiring Manager.
(702)605-0985

What do you think I should do?

At this point in time, I’m debating about taking several different courses of action. I could do the following:

1. Contact local law enforcement and tell them that Patricia Barrington, Sandra Fagan and Rudy Grado are writing fake checks in a legitimate Madison business’ name.

2. Contact the FBI about the same issue since it spans several states (i.e., Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada and Florida).

3. Tell the scammers that I’ve deposited the check and am waiting for it to clear. This puts the car wrap scammers in a holding pattern because checks typically take 1-2 weeks to clear.

4. Tell the scammers that their “employment” check has been forwarded to the IRS for cashing because I owe back taxes and all my earnings must first be garnished (That should put them into a panic!).

5. New development! I might have a second car wrap scam check coming to my house very soon. This one is from George Jennings of NOS Energy Drink. Should I tell the ROCKSTAR scam folks that I’ve instead decided to work with the NOS scam folks- or vice versa?

I’ve Tried That readers, what would you do in this situation?

Update as of October 7, 2013:

First off all, thank you everyone for your feedback! I was feeling a little confrontational this morning, so I decided to first text David Christian and say that I’d deposited the check last Friday at my bank. Within seconds, I received a text message back from him, asking if I’d received my email instructions.

Deciding to not play text tag any longer, I called Mr. David Christian at the phone number (702) 605-0985. A guy with a slight English accent picked up the line and actually identified himself as David Christian. I told him that I’d deposited the check I’d been sent last Friday, but the bank had put a hold on it for some reason. He asked me how long the hold was. I answered that the bank wanted to hold it for two weeks.

David didn’t seem too concerned about the hold and said that I could just wait until the check cleared, then write out my own check to the graphic artist.

I then asked David about the Madison business that had been listed on the check (BOP, LLC). I said I was confused about why this business was being listed on the check. David answered that this business was the sponsor.

I then told David that I had contacted this business and they had no idea what I was talking about. BOP had also told me that the check was the wrong color (their checks have a blue background).

At that point, David and I lost connection. I tried calling him back at least two times. No answer. I wonder what happened. I hope he’s OK…

Update as of October 12, 2013:

This past week, I received the following email from a “George Jennings (george.jennings11@outlook.com)” of NOS Energy drink:

Hello Halina,

Information reaching me this morning has it that you will be receiving the check today. The check of  $2,330.00  has been sent to you via USPS with tracking number (9405501699320009816575) and it will be delivered to you this morning. Kindly proceed and  deposit the check into your bank account and funds will be available for withdrawal 24hrs after it has been deposited.

I will be waiting for a confirmation message immediately the check is deposited. As soon as the cash is out you are to deduct $300.00 which is your upfront payment and forward the balance  ($2,030.00) to the graphic artist that will be wrapping the decal on your car via Money Gram.

They also will be responsible in removing the decal when the program is completed.

Below is the name of the receiver. You are to get back to me with the transfer information (8 digits Money Gram Reference) Number and the exact amount sent). You are to deduct the transfer charges ($180.00) from the $2,030.00 you have with you.

Below is the Graphic Artist Money Gram Details  to send the Money to in Minutes

PAYMENT INFO
Name: Constance H Lawson
City: Saint Johnsbury
State: Vermont
Zip code: 05819

Kindly get back with the information below once the transfer has been completed.

Money Gram Reference Number# & Total Amount Sent

FAQ: Why am I sending money to Vermont? The head office the graphic artist is VT, As soon as payment is acknowledge by them, a local artist will come to your house and install the decal wrap on your car. Let me know as soon as the check is deposited.

If you require additional information, do not hesitate to email me or call me.

Best Regards
George Jennings.
951-234-7388
Hiring Manager.

And here’s the fake check:

Car wrap scam

I’m seeing at least one common theme between the NOS and ROCKSTAR Energy Drink scammers. First of all, the car wrap “sponsors” are both clothing shops, BOP (of Madison, WI) and Madison et Cie (of Los Angeles, CA). What a clothing shop has to do with an energy drink, I haven’t a clue.

I also think that the NOS scam artists are far more sloppy than the ROCKSTAR Energy Drink scam artists; why would an LA-based shop sponsor a car in Madison? Unless that shop was picked only because it has the name “Madison” in it- did the scammers think I wouldn’t notice the location of this “Madison”-based shop?

Update as of October 15, 2013:

So, apparently, I don’t have to be scammed for $1,850 ($2,030 – $180 for wire transfer charges). I can also be scammed for just…get ready for it…$1,000!

Hello Applicant,

You are receiving this email because you applied for car wrap job. We are please to inform you that your application has been processed. Payment has been sent and delivered which include your 1st week payment and funds for the graphic artist. We will like to have an update from you if you have been able to forward fund to your matched graphic artist head office. If yes, provide the transfer info and If you are yet to receive payment from us, please let us know so we can process your application immediately. We look forward to your swift response.

Regards
George Jennings

My reply (including all broken grammar and misspellings): Thank you for email. My bank deposited the check but tell me I will receive back only one thousand dollars from thsi check. I don’t understand why.

George Jennings: Why is that? What did the bank say?

My reply: The bank is saying that the IRS is going to garnish my check as wages. I’m supposed to send them a W-9 from NOS too. Can you send a W-9 for these wages?

George Jennings: All the necessary document will be presented to you before the installation. Kindly proceed to send the $1000 via Western union to Constance to enable us book the installation appointment and the graphic artist will bring the W-9 with him. I will be expecting the Western union details.

Update as of October 18, 2013:

My saga with George Jennings continues:

Me: What about the $200 wire transfer charge?

GJ: The transfer charges should be deducted from the $1000. Kindly try and get this done today so the appointment can be booked.

Me: I sent a check this afternoon to the graphic artist. Thanks!

GJ: To who? You are to make a western union transfer to the details that was sent to you. Not send a check besides no address was provided to you.

Me: To Constance H. Lawson. She lives on Railroad St. in Saint Johnsburg, VT. It was much cheaper for me to just send a check.

GJ: Call it back.

Me: I already sent the check to her, but I can call her phone number and let her know not to cash the check. Or, should I send payment to the following address: PO Box 4125 Saint Johnsbury, VT 05819-4125

At this point, George stopped answering my emails. Too bad…

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913 Comments

  1. I too received an email ans almost fell for it! So I sent my info and then looked those up so I decided to inform this bogus company that we are selling our car and will no longer require this wrap program!! I am awaiting a response as I am typing this out!
    Thanks for the heads up!!

    Reply
  2. What should I do if I already cashed the check? Should I wait until the check bounces ?

    Reply
  3. My husband got a check for $2,350 and emails and text messages from what we thought was a real person with full throttle. We deposited the check and only a small part of the check went through which was good with our luck it came at the right time when we were low on food and cash. After 4 days the check bounced and now we are lefted with our bank in the negative. Should we notify the cops about the bad check

    Reply
  4. So if you receive the check could you just cash it? Or what happens when you try to cash it?

    Reply
  5. Here’s a new one:

    Subject:
    **ENERGY_DRINK_ADVERTISEMENT_OFFER**
    From:
    “Runa®_Energy_Drink” (Add as Preferred Sender)
    Date: Wed, Aug 30, 2017 6:11 pm
    To:
    Are you in USA ? Would You Wrap Your Car, truck , or bike totally free and earn $400 every week. Reply If Interested for more details.

    Regards,

    Robert Johnson,

    Hiring Manager

    Runa Energy Drink®

    Reply
  6. I recieved this by text from Propel company.i talk to this guy edwin by txt and gave my Andress and name.He txt me every day. The check was supposed to get to me, but never did, so they told me they were sending a new one or i could do a Walmart credit car and to give them my user name and pasword to get it deposit right away . Then i said this is not right so i never aswer back. Should i Go to the police or can they do something back with my name,addres or phone number?

    Reply
  7. I received a text from someone offering me $400 a week for plastered advertising on my vehicle. I am a single mother of 3 and thought wow this would help so much. I recently fractured my patella and have been out of work because of it. I replied back and this is what i received.

    Congratulations, it is my pleasure to inform you that your vehicle has been chosen for the Rhodius Power Point Energy Drinks advertisement. It is very easy and simple, no application fees required.

    This is the basic premise of the paid to drive concept, we seek people, regular citizens, professional drivers, and all vehicle owners above eighteen(18) years old, to go about their normal routine, ONLY with an advertisement for Rhodius Power Point Energy Drinks plastered on their vehicles.

    The advertisements are typically vinyl decals, also known as auto wraps that almost seem to be painted on the vehicle, and which will cover the two front doors of your vehicle exterior surface.

    The sum of Four Hundred($400) has been allocated, being weekly payments for carrying our advertisement on your vehicle.
    A detailer who will install the decals on your vehicle will be allocated and your payment will be scheduled. You will therefore receive your payment alongside the money that will be paid to the national car detailer.

    When you get the payment, you will take out your first week pay of $400 and give the rest to the detailer, this is to afford mutual
    relationship between you and the detailer and also to get both of the ready at the same time for the installation.

    You will therefore receive your check in the mail which will include your $400 for the first week and the detailer’s payment for the
    installation and removal of the magnetic decals.

    Please provide the following details so I can enroll you in the program and schedule your payments. The program is scheduled to start
    this week and so provide the details as accurate as possible.

    Full Name: Make of car/year: Mailing Address: City: State: Zip code: Mobile Phone Number: Email Address:

    How long do you intend to carry the advertisement on your car? One(1) month, two(2) months or three(3) months

    Also re confirm your name it should be on the check, your complete mailing address and mobile phone number for your payments.
    We look forward to a great exposure of our products from you.

    Once again, welcome to the Rhodius Power Point Energy Drinks vehicle advertisement program.

    On Fri, Aug 11, 2017 at 12:10 PM, Kendalyn sent

    Received a text saying I can earn money for advertising on my vehicle. I would like to know the details. Thanks
    Sent from my iPhone


    Justin Neiswenter
    Coordinator
    Rhodius Vehicle Advertisements

    Now I am concerned that I sent the information they requested. What should I do to protect myself in this situation. These people are horrible excuses of a human being and I hope that their karma comes back around 10 fold. Luckily, although after sending my information, i googled the company. If I hadn’t I would have cashed the check.

    Reply
  8. Jannett Bidwell says:

    This is a fake add I received and almost fell for

    PAID TO DRIVE CONCEPT BY NOS ENERGY DRINK AND EARN $500 WEEKLY
    Inbox
    x

    Stetson Moore
    Aug 4 (2 days ago)

    to me
    Hello,
    We are please to inform you that you meet our laid out plans for this advertisement as your information has been received. Below are some questions you need to answer before we can proceed.

    How long do you intend to carry the advert on your car 1 month or 2 months?
    Do you use your car everyday?
    Your upfront payment would made after you have sent a reply with answer to the questions above and a confirmation email saying we should go ahead and mail out funds.

    Note: NOS ENERGY DRINK will take full responsibility for placing and remove decal on your car and it will not resort to any damage. Also we have OUT-SOURCED the payment of funds to you to

    another Agency, so please do not be alarmed by the payment not coming directly from NOS ENERGY DRINK .

    Acknowledge receipt of this email immediately.

    Kind Regards!
    ®NOS ENERGY DRINK Motor Corporation, USA. All rights reserved.

    Reply
  9. oops……Hiring Manager is Scott Kong

    Reply
  10. I got my email last week for the BUDWEISER ADVERT PROGRAM….. unfortunately I responded and now there should be a check on its way…. same scenario as all the rest a certain amt for me and send the rest to a third party, but I haven’t been told who they are yet…. I figured I was caught up in a scam when Mr. Kong didn’t give me a contact number for someone in their marketing group at Budweiser….I’m assuming I should notify the authorities and USPS after this check arrives….and shouldn’t respond to anymore emails or phone calls….I’ve already blocked his number from my phones….if anyone has any other suggestions please let me know….thanks
    My hiring manager is Scott King 318-302-0834, scottkong44@gmail.com

    Reply

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