Imagine getting paid to drive your own car. That's the appeal of signing up for a car wrap, where your car is turned into a rolling billboard for some company.
It's a great concept, unless you are being scammed.
Jumps at Email Offer
Terry Nelson is used to making lightning quick decisions, from his days as a college basketball player.
So when the former Final Four star got an email offering him money, he took a jump shot.
"I received an email from a friend that stated you could earn $300 a week for Monster Energy to put a car wrap on your car," Nelson said. "So I instantly replied to it."
It sounded like a great deal: All he would have to do is drive around in his car, advertising the Monster Energy drink on his car.
Nelson says as soon as he said OK, he received a check for $2,470, with instructions to send part of it to the artist who would wrap his car.
"He told me to cash the check, keep the rest, and send it to a graphic artist that we are going to give to you at a later time," Nelson said.
Nelson got suspicious.
"After I sent in my information," he said, "I felt something that wasn't right. Why isn't he paying money to the car wrapping agency. Why is he giving it to me, someone he doesn't know or trust?"
Turns out Nelson almost fell for what has been named the "car wrap scam," the newest ruse involving a fake check that bounces after you cash it.
The so-called graphic artist was really a scam artist, who would take this basketball star's money and leave him down on the ground.
Latest Version of Old Scam
This is just the latest version of the bogus check scam, which typically targets people with phony mystery shopper jobs and sweepstakes winnings.
Thousands of Americans lose millions of dollars a year to these frauds, sending money via Western Union to a scammer who is usually out of the country.
There are legitimate car wrapping opportunities , but they will not contact you, and certainly not send you a check before you do any work.
Be suspicious of any check in the mail you weren't expecting, so you don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.
"Like" John Matarese on Facebook
Follow John on Twitter (@DWYM)