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Fake Check Scheme Impacts Local Business

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CARROLLTON (CBSDFW.COM) - Lilly Brandwine is cautious... but a recent offer sounded good.

It came in the form of an email from someone claiming to represent Car Wrap City, offering to pay her to wrap a car with a Heineken logo.

"I could use an extra $2,000 a month," she told Consumer Justice. "My biggest goal is to finish off paying grad school."

The letter explained the scheme. Brandwine felt comfortable filling out a survey entering information like the car, make and model.

Then she received an email saying she had to pay a third party. She was told they would send a check for $2,500, and from that, she had to wire $500 to the installer and keep the rest.

"Immediately, that didn't sound right," Brandwine said.

So, she googled the name of the company on the letter -- Car Wrap City. She found one in Carrollton and called them.

A woman named Crystal Morris picked up the phone. People like Brandwine have called her every week since November (sometimes several in one day).

"I asked my manager, 'Are we promoting this?' " Morris recalled.

Car Wrap City in Carrollton wraps commercial vehicles. They figured out that overseas scammers were using their name to trick people in what's known as an "over payment scam." A recent BBB report lists this type of scam as one of the most-fallen for in the country.

"This is the actual check they are receiving in the mail," Morris said as she showed Consumer Justice the check and the campaign letter.

"You can see this says Coca Cola automobile wrap program," she said. But it turns out the checks are fake.

The scam works like this: The victim cashes the check and sends a portion to the scammer and often times spends the rest. A few days later, when the bank figures out the check was fake, the victim is on the hook for the full amount.

"Literally they are putting negative into their own checking account because the checks are not good," Morris explained.

Morris said there are legitimate campaigns for wrapping cars.

"But it involves contracts and something you need to enter into negotiations with," she said. "They are not going to come to an individual and say would you like to work with us."

Lilly was prepared, when the so- called scammer called her.

"I said, 'I've already called Car Wrap City, they know you are doing this.' "

Then, she never heard from them again.


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