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Minnesota Musing: Car Wrap - Scam Alert!
Are They Deceiving Me?
First I received a text message. It was from a stranger. It was written in bad English and asked me if I wished to participate in a car wrapping job. The text instructed me to visit a webpage and sign up.
It was exciting. The thought of having an advertisement on my car that would earn me money was an interesting thought. The text promised money for my involvement. In my fantasy mind, I could picture the scenario of my car looking like a car from a racing facility, proudly displaying some bold drink message.
So I Responded
I actually responded to the text, by going home and entering the short url on my computer. Mind you, the letters are case sensitive and the url does not work unless you type in the small letters and capital letters as shown.
Like I mentioned, I responded. The website was in fairly bad English and was full of grammatical errors, but I filled in my info and responded.
The short url brought me to a page. The page was still in bad English and I went ahead and filled in my information and submitted.
As you click through, the application asks you for some details. There is some explanation of how you will receive a driver package in the mail.
It said that I would receive my car wrapping instructions with my welcome package.
So. I filled in the information requested, and hit submit.
A Follow Up:
I received a check with my name on it. It was alone in the envelope.
There were no instructions. I have received hundreds of phone calls from odd sources, never the same phone number. When you try to return the call, you get a message that the number doesn't exist.
I have had no voice messages.
I received a check in the mail. Yes. They used the USPS to mail my check. However, there was no instructions. Nothing. Just a check. A check made out to me.
The strange part is that the check should have been written to the company doing the wrap. There should have been a notice telling me of an appointment. There should have been some type of information, but there was none.
The check routing number brought up some strange bank in a town not listed on the check. The account number brought up some real estate company. The business name on the check did not match the company that it was drawn on.
They were similar, but not the same.
The package said it was BF Enterprises, Inc., 377 Stonehaven Drive, Sacramento, CA 95827.
The check was filled out to my name. for an amount of $1,950.00. The check was written on EBF Enterprises, Inc., 4100 Paint Shop Road, Lincolnton, NC, 28092. It was drawn on TD Bank, Peoples Bank, Lincolnton, NC 28092.
I received a Priority Mail envelope, with a check enclosed. The check was made out to me. It was for an amount.
There were no further instructions. There is no work order to get the car wrapping done. There is nothing, except a check made out to myself.
If it was legitimate, they would have written the check out to a specific local company that does car wrapping. They would have advised me of my appointment options. They would have taken the next step.
But, they did not.
I was excited by the original text, into believing that I could earn $450 with my car, but had to bring myself back to reality. It's definitely not real. The check is written on some miscellaneous bank. The many companies listed on the letters and checks somewhat match, but are all somewhat different. Missing vowels, added letters, wrong addresses.
I'm not falling for their hook.
I don't want you to fall for their hook either. So, be careful. According to a consumer protection webpage, this is a typical scenario. You receive their text. You respond. They send you a check. You cash it.
Somehow, if your bank does cash it, that pocket of money fails and then, the fail comes back to your account and the funds are removed. Hopefully, you have not used that money for anything, because, simply speaking, it's gone.
You are responsible for replacing it. Since you trusted the check to start with, it becomes your responsibility to replace the funds. The original check is long gone, since you deposited it, plus the proof that it existed.
So, if you get this far with receiving a check, stop. Do not cash it. It is a scam.
More Texts Received
The ball has been dropped.
I have not cashed their check. I have received more text messages from other people asking me to participate. All different car wraps.
So, definitely a scam.
Googling Phone Numbers
Because I'm uncertain of anyone who may have called me, and I do not answer my phone all of the time, whether I'm not with my phone or some other reason, most will leave a message.
I went through the missed call/recent calls log of my phone and Googled each one. There was an interesting assortment of odd phone numbers from areas outside my calling area.
If you type in the phone number, onto the Google search bar, it will pull up Reverse Phone lookup information or it will randomly inform you of any other people who have had phone calls from that number.
Interestingly enough, of all the phone numbers I have received in the last three months, none have been from any numbers associated with the check I received. No one has called inquiring why I have not cashed it yet. No one has called to let me know I have an appointment for a car wrap.
No one has called to even say boo.
So, again, how legitimate is this? Probably not very.