Los Angeles

Drivers: Beware of This ‘Easy Money' Offer

Imagine getting extra cash simply for driving to work — or sitting in traffic.

But are promises of a paycheck for wrapping your car the "real deal?"

The answer is yes — if you're careful about how you sign up.

The eye-catching logos roll by us every day — promoting products and services — leading drivers to wonder if they could get paid for wrapping their rides.

Debi Tully was curious — so when she got an email offer to turn her car into an "ad-on-wheels" for a brand-new french energy drink — she didn't hesitate.

"$300 a week just for driving my car, to have my car wrapped with their advertisement," she said.

All she had to do was cash a nearly $3,000 check that came in the mail.

"It looks real legit to me."

Keeping $300 for her upfront payment — and sending the rest to a graphic artist to design the wrap.

"I think that might have raised a red flag — why would I be paying their vendor — why aren't they paying their vendor directly?"

"It usually takes a couple weeks for the banks to determine that the check is, in fact, counterfeit — and by that point, if the consumer's already wire transferred the funds off to this third party, the consumer's on the hook," said Todd Kossow, of the Federal Trade Commission.

It's a trick that's triggered hundreds of complaints with the Federal Trade Commission.

And while consumer advocates warn that many "car wrapping" offers are a scam — there are legit operations — including companies like Carvertise — and Wrapify.

Breshawn Wiley recently signed up with Wrapify to get paid for promoting eBay every time he hits the road.

"I literally just go to school, the gym, or go to work," he said.

The San Diego startup, which just launched in Los Angeles, encases cars in advertising — then uses a GPS-linked app to track a driver's movements. You make more when you travel through densely populated areas, where the ads get more exposure.

"Once you open up the app, it shows you how much you made today," Wiley said.

About 20,000 drivers have signed up so far, nationwide — a simple online process — and Wrapify says some are pulling in as much as $450 a month.

After three weeks of driving, Wiley's take was just $113, but he's not complaining.

"It's not a full-time job, just a supplement that pays gas or lunch," he said. "But I couldn't have asked for a better experience."

If you're interested in getting your car wrapped for cash — be wary of offers you see on websites like craigslist, as well as unsolicited emails.

And if you're asked to pay up front for car wrapping — your best bet may be to just drive away.

More information on Wrapify.

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