3OYS: Easy money turns to easy scam

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by LiAna Gonzales

azfamily.com

Posted on April 9, 2014 at 10:08 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 9 at 10:20 PM

PHOENIX -- Sean Whitney drives his car a lot, so he thought he was the perfect candidate when he got an email offering him quick cash to wrap his car in an advertisement.

"I was like, 'Well, sure I can do that. I don't care. You can throw whatever you want to on my car. If you pay me $300 a week, I don't care,' " he said.

Whitney agreed to have his car wrapped with an ad for the popular Monster Energy drink.

"I was thinking, 'I drive such a long way, that'd be great advertisement,' " he said.

Whitney's commute to work is about 35 miles each way.

But he quickly grew suspicious when he got another email indicating that he would receive a check in advance.

According to the instructions, Whitney was supposed to deposit the check into his account. He was told to keep $300 for himself and then wire the remaining balance to pay the graphic artist.

"As soon as I saw money gram, that threw up a red flag and I stopped," Whitney said.

3 On Your Side has exposed this scam before.

"If you're getting $1,200 a month, I mean, who wouldn't think that was a great idea?" Leah Rogers said.

Rogers got the same email, but after receiving the check and being asked to wire money, she also knew something was fishy.

“I can't afford to do anything that's gonna take away money," she said. "I need to be putting money into my account, not taking it out.”

The scam works because by the time someone deposits the check, it takes up to three days for the bank to realize the check is worthless. By then, the money has already been wired and is in the pocket of the scammer.

"It really sounded legit. They had me for a little bit," Whitney said.

Both Whitney and Rogers admitted they wanted to believe the offer was legitimate but knew better than to wire money to someone they don't know.

"I knew this was a scam but people need to know that this is going on," Whitney said.

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