HOUMA, LA (WVUE) - “This is a lot of money for somebody to lose,” Jessica Dana of Houma said. She got a job offer she didn’t want to pass up.
It came in the form of a text message on her cell phone.
“Spike energy drink it was.. and they say you can make $400 a week,” Dana said.
A quick search of the company online, Dana explained it appeared legitimate so she filled out a job application for herself and her husband, Clarence.
The job required her to allow the company to wrap their vehicles with decals, advertising the energy drink.
“They was gonna have somebody come out.. a professional.. to wrap your vehicle, and then however long you want to leave it on the vehicle you could, and then you would get paid $400 every week for it,” Dana said.
The Dana’s would simply drive wherever they normally would. While the offer promised to pay $400 a week, the check they received was for $1,980. The check came with instructions, which explained to first, deposit the money. “Take $400 out for myself and send the rest of it Western Union to a place in Texas,” Dana said.
According to the instructions, the graphic artist is in Texas. The instructions also mentioned that once that office received payment, “a local person.. a graphic artist.. in your zip code will come to your house and install the decal wrap on your car.” So Dana deposited the check, but not long after, she called her bank and asked them to cancel it after doing more research online. When she googled “Spike car wrap,” several articles detailed a well known scam.
“They use well known names, and they just steal that.. sometimes they steal logos you know to make it seem more believable,” Cynthia Albert of the Better Business Bureau said.
It’s an old scam that appears to be ramping up in our area, and it can be convincing according to Albert.
“Many many times we have heard from individuals who have deposited the check cause this is what they were advised to do, wire money to them, they lose their money, they have to pay the money back to the bank,” Albert said.
The Federal Trade Commission even warns on its site, weeks after you wire the money, the check bounces and your bank tells you it was a fake. The consumer, at that point, is on the hook for hundreds of dollars now owed to their bank for the fraudulent check.
“Because it’s virtually impossible to get your money back once you’ve wired it,” Albert said. She explained people on the receiving end are often out of the country, and there is no car wrapping job to begin with.
The Dana’s have since received several more checks, and each one was more than $1900. Not one of them is from an actual energy drink company, just one of the red flags Dana wanted to point out to the FOX 8 Defenders and other consumers.
“We see the things y’all do on there with these other people getting scammed.. elderly people especially you know, and I didn’t want nobody falling for this,” Dana said.
The energy drink company, Spike, emailed us a response, saying the car wrap scam is not unique to them. The email response said, “the best advice is to google “car wrap scam” to find out how to avoid being victimized.” It also suggested visiting the Federal Trade Commission website as another resource for warning signs.