52ºF

Cricket Wireless impostors offer $400 a week in 'car wrap advertisement' scheme

Local math teacher admits ‘paid to drive' con almost fooled him

ST. CLOUD, Fla. – A St. Cloud middle school math teacher who received a check for $2,400 from a man who claimed to be recruiting drivers for a wrap advertisement campaign sponsored by Cricket Wireless, said the deal just didn’t make sense.

“I had to send him the make and model of my cars,” John  said. “Four hundred dollars was supposed to be my first week’s payment.”

The veteran teacher, who asked to remain anonymous, received the initial offer via text in January.

On Feb. 26, the teacher received a follow-up email from someone identified as Cassidy Hall.

The email said, in part: “I'd like to inform you that the car wrap advertisement program is about to start. Also, we are in the process of sending your first week payment to you. I'll let you know when to receive the check.”

The check, sent through FedEx Express, was from Prosperity Bank in Palestine, Texas. The funds appeared to be from the city’s government account.

News 6 advised both Cricket Wireless and the city’s administration of the bogus check scheme.

Dated March 5, the standard security hologram or watermark was missing and it was signed by John Smith, not Cassidy Hall.

The major red flag was the real motive.

The teacher said most of the money -- $1,950 -- was  supposed to be wired to someone in Wisconsin “who would develop the shrink wrap.”

Once the bank found the check to be a fake, John would have had to pay the bank the entire $2,400.

“Hey I’m a school teacher and I’m educated. If I can be caught by something like this and be enticed by it, anybody can,” John said.

News 6 found similar complaints from consumers in California, Washington State and Maryland, all in the same window of time between February and early March.

One consumer said he received a check for $3,600 from Deljo Heating and Cooling, not Cricket Wireless.

There were also online scam alerts involving bogus car wrap advertising deals with JetBlue,
Busch Beer, Pepsi, Monster Energy Drink and Ciroc Vodka.

Not one person reported a check clearing -- each one bounced.

The Better Business Bureau has been tracking these wrap advertising scams since 2015. The Federal Trade Commission issued an alert in 2016.

You can file a complaint with the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. Select "Scams and Rip-offs," then click "counterfeit checks."
 


About the Author: