Whiteman Exchange warns of scam

By Nicole Cooke

May 5, 2014

The latest scam to hit the area involves the Army & Exchange Service at Whiteman Air Force Base and the offer of purchasing a used vehicle.

A man posing as an airman from Utah has been trying to conduct transactions by saying a used car will be delivered to the Exchange for the customer once money has been transferred, but the cars don’t exist. The Exchange isn’t even authorized to sell vehicles in the United States, said Emma-Jayne Swan, Assistant Store Manager at the WAFB Exchange.

So far three people have reported responding to the scam. Only one person actually transferred the money; the other two people called the Exchange first to see if the offer was legitimate.

“We received three phone calls in the last two weeks,” Swan said. “One was from a concerned mother making sure it was a valid offer because her daughter was about to wire the money. Another gentleman called a few days later about it, then Wednesday I talked to a gentleman who had unfortunately already wired the money a few days before, expecting to pick up a used truck from us (Monday).”

Swan said she wasn’t exactly sure how those people found out about the offer, but said the man who transferred the money communicated with the scammer mostly through text messages, followed by an official-looking email with the Exchange’s logo.

“Whether it was an ad or online I’m not sure. But then he sent him an email with our letterhead to make it look official,” she said. “But it looked like it was copied and pasted and references to the company were not what we would ever call ourselves.”

When Swan and other WAFB Exchange employees contacted Exchange headquarters in Dallas, Texas, officials there said they had heard of the scam, and that other scams had included trying to sell used boats and motorcycles as well.

According to a news release from Army & Air Force Exchange Service Public Affairs, “while the Exchange does have mail order and Internet offerings, the Exchange does not advertise in civilian outlets such as metropolitan newspapers or automobile sales magazines. All advertisements for legitimate Exchange offerings are published in outlets whose audiences mostly comprise military members.”