CORPUS CHRISTI — Residents of south Texas are among those being tricked by con-artists using the lure of fast, easy money in online job scams.
What may start as a seemingly viable opportunity to make money by wrapping your car in marketing decals or using your own social media account to earn points, typically ends with crooks driving off with your money and your personal information.
According to the Better Business Bureau, these two scams typically follow the same pattern:
In the Car Wrap Scam, a marketing firm offers to shrink-wrap your vehicle with an advertisement for a popular company, and all you do is drive the car as you normally would. The agency sends a large check to cover the cost and asks you to wire back the unused funds. Then, the check bounces and you are out the money.
Just this month, a south Texas job-seeker was sent a $1,920 check asking him to advertise for Colgate. His job was to deposit the check, use the funds to wrap his car with an ad, keep $500 for himself and wire the remaining funds back.
In this case, the consumer did not deposit the check, and instead, reported the scam.
Another popular employment ruse is the Social Influencer Scam. You are promised easy work by using your own social media influence -- or clout -- to accumulate points and money.
CloutBucks is an example of a site that promises cash by sharing and referring followers from your social networks. Once you complete a specific number of clicks, referrals, and tasks, you request a payout. It might take a few weeks but then the company rejects your payment, suspecting “fraud clicks”.
There is no proof anyone has ever received payment from this site. A San Antonio victim reported to BBB ScamTracker that she is owed $967 using CloutBucks.
As always, the BBB wants to help keep anyone from becoming a victim to such fraud, and suggests the following:
Beware of overpayments. Overpayments on a check are usually a red flag. Checks can look convincing, but they can bounce days or weeks after being deposited. In other cases, you must accumulate a large amount of earnings before they will send you a check. Criminals know very few people will stick with it long enough to see an actual check.
Never send money to strangers. There are thousands of internet money-making opportunities, and some promise extra tools as soon as you hand over cash or accumulate a large amount of points. Be suspicious if a company asks you to send money upfront or in an unusual way, like wire transfer or gift cards.
Report scams to www.bbb.org/ScamTracker.