Buying a car is a costly investment, and looking for something inexpensive can sometimes be tough to find.
LaTonya Gilford was shopping online through classifieds for a car when she came across a 2006 Nissan Murano.
“I liked it,” she said. “The pictures they showed; I liked it. It was nice.”
She responded to the classified, and a woman answered back ready to close the deal.
“She said she was in the army and that she was on a base and she was getting ready to be transferred to another base, and couldn't take the vehicle so that's why she was selling it so cheap,” Gilford said.
The scheme is one that started in the past year. Crooks take out an ad for a car at a rock bottom price. They tell a would-be buyer that they’re in the military, explaining they’re being deployed or transferred and can’t take the car with them. They ask you to wire the money to them as they’re moving in a few days and have to sell the car, so they’re doing it cheaply. They promise to ship it or have you come pick it up.
“Did any red flags go up for me? No, but for Lonnie yes it did and he was like no stop,” she said.
“They’re milking her,” he said. “That's the first thing in my mind. I said no that doesn't sound right.”
Gilford wired $3000 to the seller, and was told the car would be shipped to her, but she never received it.
Her money was picked up over the Texas-Oklahoma border in Texhoma.
The Waxahachie Police said their detective was unable to get any leads on the person who took Gilford’s money.
“It hurted,” she said. “It hurted a lot. Now I’m making a car payment.”
Gilford is now paying $375 a month for the next four years for a nearly 100,000 mile used Honda.
“At the end of the day, God has a blessing with my name on it,” she said.
Gilford said she saw the same ad for the same car again after losing her money, and wants everyone to know to not wire money to anyone for a car they have not seen.