Pho­ny ad job scam war­ning

Le Reflet (The News) - - COLLECTIVITE | COMMUNITY - GREGG CHAMBERLAIN gregg.chamberlain@eap.on.ca

One of the la­test war­nings from po­lice about con ar­tists at work concerns an “ea­sy mo­ney” scheme tar­ge­ting people with cars, with special at­ten­tion paid to young drivers who have just got their first ve­hicle.

A scam is at work in the Eas­tern On­ta­rio re­gion in­vol­ving a phone pro­mo­tion scheme for po­pu­lar be­ve­rages, in­clu­ding fla­vou­red water and beers. The con ar­tists have web­site set up and al­so make use of ran­dom emails and text mes­sa­ging to lure vic­tims with of­fers of “re­gu­lar week­ly sa­la­ries” just for let­ting their car, van, or truck serve as mo­bile ad­ver­ti­sing for soft drinks, bot­tled water, or beer brands. One well-known com­pa­ny which had its brand name hi­ja­cked for the scam is Clear­ly Ca­na­dian, an On­ta­rio-ba­sed fla­vou­red water com­pa­ny. Other le­gi­ti­mate brand names may al­so be used as part of the lure in the fraud.

The key to the scam is that the con ar­tists of­fer their vic­tims the chance to make mo­ney for use of their per­so­nal ve­hicle as a mo­bile ad for a par­ti­cu­lar brand, using wra­pa­round de­cal ad­ver­ti­sing. The vic­tim is as­ked to ap­ply on­line to the “mar­ke­ting di­vi­sion”, which will then send a cheque for the first week’s sa­la­ry plus up to $2600 in “ex­pense funds” to co­ver the cost of the wra­pa­round de­cal work.

But these cheques are pho­ny. They are fake do­cu­ments drawn on a bank ac­count that does not exist. The vic­tim can cash the cheque, keep the $300 “sa­la­ry” and then send the rest of the funds to a “wrap­ping com­pa­ny” lo­ca­ted in Mi­chi­gan, using ei­ther a Wes­tern Union wire trans­fer or other mo­ney trans­fer me­thod. The “wrap­ping com­pa­ny” will then send so­meone wi­thin a week to do the de­cal work.

The trick to the scam is that the vic­tim in the end is using their own mo­ney from ca­shing the fake cheque and de­po­si­ting it to their own ac­count. The mo­ney they trans­fer to the wrap­ping com­pa­ny is co­ming from their own che­quing ac­count fund. No one shows up la­ter to do any de­cal wrap­ping but by then the scam­mers have re­mo­ved all trace of their on­line trail, set­ting up a new web­site and email/text sys­tem to start all over and lure in ano­ther col­lec­tion of vic­tims using a dif­ferent hi­ja­cked brand name. They de­pend on the vic­tim’s willin­gness to be­lieve that the de­tai­led ins­truc­tions and use of an over­night mo­ney trans­fer sys­tem means the of­fer is le­gi­ti­mate.

Com­pa­nies which use ve­hicles with wra­pa­round de­cal ad­ver­ti­sing to pro­mote their pro­ducts do so th­rough their own in-house ad­ver­ti­sing contacts, not th­rough ran­dom emails or text mes­sages.

Anyone re­cei­ving emails or text mes­sages or fin­ding a web­site which makes this kind of of­fer should contact ei­ther their lo­cal po­lice or the Ca­na­dian An­ti-Fraud Centre, toll-free, at 1-888-495-8501 or re­port it on­line at www. an­ti­fraud­centre.ca.

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