Can You Really Get Paid for Ads on Your Car?

By - December 21, 2013

I recently received an email that essentially promised me $300 per week for putting ads on my car. In case there are any companies out there willing to actually do this, let me assure you that I will charge only $200 per week for any amount of advertising stickers you can send me to place on the front, back, and both sides of my 2008 Suzuki SX4. You might even talk me into lower rates than that as long as you are providing all of the materials.

Okay, some of you have heard of car advertising, and there really are companies that will pay you for ads that you put on your car, although they come and go so fast that I hesitate to point you to any specific ones. I just signed up for what appears to be a legitimate company a few minutes ago, and I will report on any results from this in my "Unusual Ways Newsletter" (if you're not already a subscriber you can sign up on the homepage or using the form in the side bar to the right).

But for now, let's return to that email. After responding to is with some personal information (which was minimal and seemed relevant), I received another email supposedly telling me about the details. It started with the explanation that "Wrap advertising is the marketing practice of completely or partially covering (wrapping) a vehicle in an advertisement or livery, thus turning it into a mobile billboard." Okay, I guessed as much already. So how do I sign up and get paid?

This particular company's email went on to say that that they were looking for people in the United States (Great news -- I qualify so far!), and would be wrapping my car in a banner promoting a popular energy drink. Yes, it is a real and popular energy drink, and they gave the name, but I will not, because i doubt the drink company had ever heard of this "advertising agency." But I have to admit that at first the proper English (so many scams by email are obviously written by people who can barely read or write the language), and the name of the drink company and other details made the whole thing seem legitimate.

I started to wonder about the deal when they mentioned that if I didn't have a car I could be paid to wrap my bicycle in ads. But I have a car, and the process they described sounded realistic. They send me to a local place to wrap the car in the vinyl sheets that have the advertising, and I agree to keep them there for at least one month. The email continued with this:

"You will be compensated with $300.00 per week which is essentially a 'rental payment' for letting our company use the space no fee is required from you."

No proof of miles driven is required, and no scale of payments based on that or the locale? That was suspicious. Certainly a car full of ads in Miami should be worth more to them than me here in Naples, Florida. Also, the first grammar lapse made me wonder. I know I have typos and grammar problems all over my websites, but those are normal mistakes. Read the sentence above again and you might notice the lack of a new sentence or other appropriate conjunction when they go from the first part to "no fee is required from you." Non-native speakers and immigrants are (lately) more entrepreneurial than citizens who were born here (if you wish you can argue that point with me another time, but think Google and eBay for starters), but scammers overseas know they can rarely be prosecuted. This foreign-based-operator suspicion was further confirmed when they answered the question, "Does it cover the whole car?" with "No, the decal it only install in the car trunk and doors."

My suspicions prompted me to search online using the words "car advertising scam" and the name of the energy drink company I would supposedly be promoting. Sure enough there were many posts about this scam. Apparently the company will send you a check for more than the $300 that is supposed to cover the first month. Let's say it is for $500. They then tell you to use the excess $200 to pay -- using your own checking account -- the installer that will put the ads on your car. That person will then disappear after you pay, and the first check will bounce, while yours is long gone through a few intermediaries.

Having had a man in England buy plane tickets using my credit card, I can tell you that local police will do nothing to actually catch people who are not local. But at least you can, as I did, dispute and not pay credit card charges, unlike checks that have already been cashed. Good luck trying to get the FBI to pursue your criminals to recover your $200. You have been warned. If there is no fee for something there should be no check written by you for any reason. Don't fall for this car advertising scam or any similar scheme. I'll let you know if I actually find a way to get paid for ads on my car.

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Every Way to Make Money | Ads on Your Car