Auto wrap scam uses KFC name to target victims - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Auto wrap scam uses KFC name to target victims

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But Better Business Bureaus across the country spread the word to consumers, to watch out for this slick scheme. But Better Business Bureaus across the country spread the word to consumers, to watch out for this slick scheme.
Mary O'Wheatley Mary O'Wheatley
Bruce Gadansky Bruce Gadansky

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Scammers are using the name of a Louisville giant to try and con people out of thousands of dollars. The con artists are trying to trick people into signing up for a bogus advertising job with KFC. One that could end up costing the victim, big time.

KFC spokesman Rick Maynard said KFC trademark attorneys are investigating.

"KFC is not offering vehicle advertising opportunities to the public," Maynard said in a statement. "Like other brands in the past, KFC is the victim of a fraudulent campaign by individuals falsely claiming to represent the company."

But Better Business Bureaus across the country spread the word to consumers, to watch out for this slick scheme that nearly fooled Louisville resident Mary O'Wheatley.

O'Wheatley said she is suspicious of email offers but admits getting all wrapped up in this one after seeing the KFC logo attached.

"Who doesn't know KFC?" O'Wheatley said. "This is Kentucky Fried Chicken and we are in the Commonwealth of Kentucky."

The email said KFC was hiring for an auto wrap advertising program. In return for putting KFC logos on her vehicle, Mary would be paid $400. She signed up and was asked to sign this contract.

"It's got the Colonel's picture on it," Mary said, in addition to the KFC logo.

"It looks very official," said Louisville Better Business Bureau investigator Bruce Gadansky.

Gadansky said that logo laden document is all part of gaining the trust of the victim. The "agent" who identified himself as Eric Pendell, told Mary as soon as she signed the contract, he would send her a $2,700 check.

The letter instructed Mark to deduct her $400 pay, and then forward the rest onto a "decal specialist" to place the ads on her vehicle.

Gadansky said there is no decal specialist. That money would end up in the hands of the scammers and Mary would be out $2,700 when the bank discovered the check was bogus.

"When the check comes back, it will take a few weeks to get through the system," Gadansky said. "It'll bounce and she'll be expected to reimburse the bank because she endorsed the check."

Thankfully, things never got that far.

O'Wheatley sent the email to some friends and a coworker did a google search and found out it was a fraud.

"They come flying around the corner saying don't sign that contract!" O'Wheatley said.

She had already sent in her name, address, phone number and car description. She now gets regular calls from "Eric Pendell" asking her to seal the deal.

The Better Business Bureau says despite the obvious local appeal, potential victims as far away as Nebraska are being targeted.

O'Wheatley said she nearly bought in.

"I can't believe I fell for it!" she said.

Maynard said any legitimate employment offers would originate from a kfc.com e-mail address or from the KFC e-mail club, or would be found at kfc.com or on the brand's social media pages.

"In this case, the e-mails originate from a Gmail account," Maynard wrote, which is a red flag in any situation like this one.

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