LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT)-- The latest scam is one this area has seen before. Around this time last year, we told you about an auto wrap scheme. It promises money if you turn your car into a driving advertisement. You can read more about it by clicking this link to our previous story.
This time, the scam is coming back. Better Business Bureau of North Alabama Vice President, Belinda McCormick, said the BBB has received multiple calls about this scam in the past week.
"The goal is to steal money from you," she warned.
In this particular version of the scam, someone either posts on a job board online or emails a consumer, recruiting them for a "job opportunity" that involves the company paying for your vehicle to be wrapped with advertising for a beer brand. They even send you a check, to pay for the wrap and give you a few hundred dollars up front. All they ask is a money order in return with some cash to pay a fee.
What makes it even more convincing and enticing, is it all can seem so legitimate. "These checks are on real accounts, and real banks, with real companies," explained McCormick, who said the companies probably don't even know they're being used in the scam until it's too late. "10 or 15 of the same check will go out across the country, and they'll start hitting this bank account."
When the consumer deposits the check, and sends the money that's been requested out of their own pocket, the money they're banking on from that check bounces.
Just ask Donna Campbell of Town Creek. She said she got an email about this scam, and knew something wasn't right. But she's typically curious and wanted to see how far the scammers would take this scheme.
"I wanted to have it for sure-- I wanted to know if it was legit," she said.
Campbell explained, she deposited the check and waited 10 days for her bank to investigate it.
"I held them off," she said of the scammers, "and they texted me."
She showed us multiple email and text conversations with people claiming to be with the auto wrap ad service, asking her for money and to confirm she had received her check. They were adamant, but she said she succeeded in holding them off until the bank learned more about the check.
"It was from a blocked account. That's what came back on the check," she explained.
McCormick said this is par for the course with this type of scam, and people end up cheated out of thousands of dollars potentially because they're counting on money that never shows up. You can be stuck with overdraft fees and penalties if your bank account is affected.
"I want to get them caught, that would be my thing," said Campbell, who reported her incident to the BBB. "They're not going to mess with me again."