I-Team: Make money with car wrap ads but watch for scams
STATEWIDE (WGME) - Scammers are trying to use a legitimate way to make money to steal from you.
There are companies that will pay you to wrap your car in advertising and then drive around, often paying on a per mile basis.
It's sometimes called the "paid to drive" concept, but there are also scammers trying to confuse people and then take their money.
We found it's happened to several people in the mid-coast area who are looking to make a little extra cash.
"They said it was $400 a week for 16 weeks," Phippsburg resident April Burgess said.
Burgess thought it would be a unique and fun way to make some money, and it seemed pretty straight forward according to an email her husband received.
"He said 'look I got an email from Budweiser and they're looking for people to advertise their company by wrapping your car, meaning putting a decal,'" she said.
So she signed up.
"The way the ad looked and sounded, it looked real to me. They even had the registered trademark signs," she said.
When she got her first check in the mail, something didn't seem right.
"If they're only going to pay me $400, why are they mailing me $1,850?" Burgess said.
She was told she needed to send the extra money to the wrap artist.
They wanted me to cash the check at my bank, keep $400 which is what they were offering and go to Walmart and get a money transfer," Burgess explained.
She called the bank and they told her the check was a fake.
Budweiser's parent company Anheuser-Busch also confirmed to the I-Team it's a scam and the email "was not set by or on behalf of Anheuser-Busch and has no connection to Anheuser-Busch or any of our products."
"I'm just glad i didn't fall for it. It would have been devastating to my family," Burgess said.
If the idea sounds intriguing to you, we found there are companies that will let you earn extra cash by advertising on your car.
"Our average drivers make $300-400 month," said James Heller, CEO of California-based Wrapify,
He said it's very easy to tell the difference between a real opportunity like what his company offers and the impostors out there.
"If you receive an unsolicited email from somebody claiming to be with a brand and they'll pay you "x" amount to have your car wrapped, that's a dead giveaway that's a scam," Heller said.
The Federal Trade Commission is also warning to watch out for car wrap scams on social media and job boards.
Heller said his company will never charge a driver to participate.
"We actually pay for everything involved in the production, getting cars wrapped," Heller said.
Wrapify said a lot of Mainers have downloaded their app, but right now they don't have any advertising campaigns in Maine.
Most of the business they do is in large cities.