The Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) has issued new warnings that scammers are continuing to try to take advantage of military members through fake vehicle purchases, according to an Exchange news release.
In a new scheme, scammers have been using “Exchange Inc.” to deceive military members when they are in the market for purchasing used vehicles and engines. The scammers pretend that AAFES is brokering the purported sale of used cars, trucks, motorcycles boats and boat engines, according to the release.
“For years, scammers have used the Exchange’s trademarked logo and name without permission to purportedly sell vehicles in the United States,” said Steve Boyd, AAFES’ loss prevention vice president. “Some military members have sent money, thinking they’re dealing with the Exchange, only to receive nothing in return.”
As in other recent scams, military members have been targeted for the use of gift cards, which are untraceable and nonrefundable, to pay for used vehicles or engines. Once several thousand dollars in gift cards has been sent, the scammer and the money disappear.
Navy Exchange, Marine Corps Exchange and Coast Guard Exchange customers should be warned too since they are also likely to be targeted, according Military.com.
The scams often target young service members or their dependents who may be purchasing their first vehicle and are unfamiliar with how major purchases commonly work, according to AAFES officials.
Military exchanges have had programs for years that sell cars to members stationed or deployed overseas, but officials stress they do not have authority to sell vehicles or represent private sellers in the U.S.
The Exchange operates solely on military installations and online via ShopMyExchange.com, but does not broker private transactions and does not advertise in classified ads or on resale websites.
AAFES urges anyone with questions regarding a suspect seller or payment method to call Exchange Customer Service at 800-527-2345.
Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Neil Mabini