• Get paid to drive your own car? Have you seen an online ad offering cash to put a company logo on your personal vehicle? “Get Paid to Drive Your Own Car,” it might say. Yes, legitimate companies pay you to do this. In 2000, Time magazine reported that when Esquire had spoofed the “car wrap ad” idea the previous spring, setting up a website for people to sign up to be drivers, enough folks took it seriously that www.FreeCar.com bought the site to add to its database.
• Too good to be true: It’s my understanding that legitimate offers have strings attached. You may be required to drive a certain number of miles per week through a populated city area to qualify. And you may have to own a certain type of car.
• Scam alert: Unfortunately, as in every industry and business, there are scams. The Internet Crime Complaint Center is reporting several complaints depicting this sort of scheme. So if you see an ad offering $400 to $600 per week to drive around with a vinyl sign for Coca-Cola, Monster Energy Drink, Red Bull, Carlsberg or Heineken beers, would you take the offer? What if the promoters sent you a check or money order for $1,000? And all you had to do was to cash it and wire the “excess” money to a third party – the graphic designer for the project? Red flag! But what if the check looked really, really legitimate? Still a red flag. If you take this offer, you’ll experience a financial loss. The check or money order turns out to be counterfeit, and you’re out any money you wired. The cash is untraceable, and you’re responsible for the bank’s losses. Ugh.
• Let’s review the “bad deal” indicators of this offer:
• Most of the contact is from an online ad.
• Sounds too good to be true.
• There’s nothing you have to agree to do – it’s easy.
• They want to overpay you and have you “play banker” by wiring money.
• Check out legitimate “car advertising wrap” companies with your local Chamber of Commerce, Secretary of State’s office and Better Business Bureau.
Holly Doering, BBB editor