By Robb Hicken/ BBB’s chief storyteller
Red Bull is huge among energy drink competitors Monster, Rockstar and others. Theses companies tend to go large and go splashy in their advertising, putting their logos and images everywhere – race cars, sporting, and social events.
That’s why Boise resident Nanette Hiller was intrigued when she answered a Craigslist posting to advertise Red Bull on her car. Car wraps are a way for businesses to use a vehicle to advertise their products.
“It was kind of weird the way they used the word ‘advert.’ Nobody in America says it that way,” Hiller says. “They said all I had to do was place the decal on my car, and I’d get paid each month.”
She filled out the forms with the thought: Get paid for driving your car to work or on daily errands? Not bad.
A check arrived along with a demand to keep part of the check and send $1,650 to someone else, she says. She called BBB.
“That was that,” Hiller says. “I felt like I had to check into it further.”
She’s not alone. This scam is a sweeping new work-at-home offer made to potential customers across the United States after they respond to Internet ads on Craigslist. While the companies do this type of advertising, scammers take advantage to launder stolen checks and monies.
According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center and a few calls at BBB, the first contact for the offer has been through an Internet ads or email. BBB serving Snake River Region investigated a similar incident last year.
In this latest series of offers, popular energy drinks – Monster, Rockstar or Red Bull – are the company allegedly looking to advertise on the car. In the past, BBB has reported on people using Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Heineken Co and Carlsberg beer as well.
They offer to pay you between $300 and $600 a week in exchange for driving around with the advertising wrapped around your vehicle. Once you accept their offer, they send you a check for a few thousand dollars, ask you to cash the check, keep your pay, and wire the rest to the person who is going to wrap your car.
However, in the cases being reported, the offer is not valid, the check bounces, you end up owing the bank, and the person who made the offer gets away with the wired money.
If you receive an offer similar to this, do your homework and ask questions. Check it out with BBB.
Remember wiring money is like sending cash, once it is sent, it is difficult to retrieve. As always, keep in mind, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you have fallen victim to this scheme, you may file a complaint with IC3 and the attorney general in your state.