RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — When it comes to your car, wouldn’t you like to use it to make some money while you drive? One way to do that is to wrap it with advertising. 

A warning from the Federal Trade Commission points to a scam that’s not new, but continues to have impacts in our area. The scheme begins with drivers being invited to get paid to wrap their vehicle with a product name and image.

Wrapped vehicles are out there. We use them here at CBS17 to promote our product and brand.  

However, there are scammers out there who say they’ll pay you to wrap your car in advertising, but the only thing they really want to do is to wrap their hands around your bank account.

One of the ploys they use is that in these days of high gas prices is that, as a participant, you can offset those costs by getting paid to drive around in a vehicle, advertising a product.  

Recently, people in our area have been getting texts offering $500 a week to promote Bud Light Lime beer by wrapping their car. 

The red flags regarding that text are apparent immediately.  

Instead of linking you to an Anheuser-Busch URL, the text shows a URL to a WIX website. Wix is a legitimate platform that allows anyone to create their own site using drag and drop tools.  

That’s why the scammers chose that platform. It makes it easy to build a website with the text and graphics they want. 

The homemade website message promises big bucks if you agree to wrap your car. 

“The pay was almost $400 a week-or something like that,” said Dianna Lemon who got an internet message asking her to advertise Red Bull by wrapping her vehicle. “I said that’s really good.”

Here’s how the scam works—they overpay you. 

Lemmon was told, “we’re going to send you a check.” As it turned out, the check was several times more than the amount of the weekly payment. 

She was told to deposit that check, keep $500 dollars and send the balance of the money back to the those making the wrapping deal with her.

Turns out, the check is fake. By the time the bank figures that out, the criminals have already disappeared with the cash. 

“You’ve lost the money you’ve sent plus the $500 you sent for them for the wrap and lost money out of your checking account,” said Lemmon. 

Lemmon said she realized it was a scam when she received the overpayment and was told to send most of it back. 

These criminals never use U.S. Mail for this scam because they want to avoid postal inspectors and mail fraud charges, so it’s all done via the internet. 

Right now, this scam is hitting the Triangle with criminals using the names of all kinds of beverage brands as the hook. 

If you’ve already been victimized by this wrap scam, you’ve got to report it to the Federal trade commission—it’s the agency with jurisdiction over this crime. You can do so using the FTC complaint center.