There is an email scam going around, first reported on this blog in January, that fools people into thinking an energy drink company will pay you to drive around with an “advertising wrap” on your car. Don’t fall for it! It’s just another variation on the counterfeit check scam.
A consumer recently contacted Your BBB and forwarded emails sent to her son–who nearly fell for the scam. The scammers pretended to be with Red Bull in the first email.
DRive and DRIVE Around with RedBuLL ads on your(VEHICLE/CAR) while you make $350 (Dollar) weekly!!!
WRAP your (VEHICLE/CAR) WITH RedBuLL ENERGY DRINK LOGO WHILE you Make $350 per WEEK!!!
Reply asap IF interesteD.
RedBUll Hiring Manager
On followup emails, they seem to have fused Red Bull with Rockstar–another energy drink company: “HYPE/Rockstar/red REDbull Energy Drink.”
The ad promises income of $350 per week. If you go along with the scam, you’re sent a check upfront and are told to forward part of the money to a graphic designer using a Green Dot Money Pak card and keep the rest as your first payment.
The catch: The check is counterfeit. The bank might let you deposit the check and make a withdrawal, but when the bank finds out it’s fraudulent, you’ll have to repay the bank for the whole amount. The money you sent to the “graphic designer” will be gone forever.
To protect yourself from check scams, BBB offers the following advice:
- Never wire money. Any job listings or offers that require you to wire money, especially to recipients outside the country, is suspicious. Walk away.
- Never agree to deposit a check and send a portion to someone else. No matter how legitimate the check may appear to be, no matter what story or reasonable-sounding explanation you are given (“Mystery shopper” is a common scheme), you will get burned. A bank teller might accept the check, but when it turns out to be fake, you will have to reimburse the bank for whatever amount you wired to the scammer.
- Beware of unexpected offers. If you receive a job offer without filling out an application, meeting with the business or being interviewed, it is probably a scam.
- Protect your personal information. Don’t give out your bank account, credit card or Social Security numbers to any unsolicited callers, even if they claim that the information is needed to direct deposit your “paychecks” or “winnings.” Before providing any information to a potential employer, do your research and verify the job is legitimate.
- Don’t trust P.O. boxes. Be suspicious of any employer or company that doesn’t have a brick-and-mortar street address (not a P.O. Box or website only) and telephone number. Call the telephone number listed and ask to speak to someone in the human resources office. While there are hundreds of legitimate online (or “dotcom”) businesses, most job scams work exclusively through email and websites.
- Never pay upfront. There is no need to pay for “job leads” or “employment listings.” Legitimate employers will advertise their open positions in easily accessible, free ways.
- Start with trust. Visit www.bbb.org to check out any potential employer, and contact those companies using information you verified on your own. Never rely only on contact information provided through unsolicited emails or phone calls.
- Know where to turn. Report suspicious job offers to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the attorney general’s office.