North Texas

‘Military Member' Sells Car Online, Buyer Left With Nothing

A new twist to an old scam is making its way across North Texas. People are selling cars online that they claim belong to members of the military being transferred on short order.

But the military members don't exist, and usually the cars don't either.

Most teenagers love a fast car, so when a 19-year-old Grand Prairie woman saw a fire engine red Dodge Charger for sale online, she says it "spoke" to her.

It's $1,500 price tag "screamed" buy me!

"She decided to contact the person to see how they should get the car," said the girl's uncle, Cranston Burke.

Burke spoke to NBC 5 Responds about his niece's decision on her own to buy a car supposedly from a member of the military.

"They said her name was Rebecca Wilson, a military person stationed in Alaska, of all places, and she had a car in a backyard that she couldn't get rid of," Burke said.

The alleged service woman emailed that she was being transferred to another base and had to get rid of the car now.

"They had to think quickly before it was gone or she went somewhere else," Burke said.

And so she did, paying not with cash, but gift cards.

But after the card number was passed along, there was no word and the phone number was disconnected.

It's all a trick and more people are falling for it. They buy into the story about the member of the military that was transferred and in a bind.

"$1,500 could have helped her with clothes, a doctor, all the needs you have with a newborn baby," Burke said.

Burke knows that money is long gone. There's likely no Rebecca Wilson, no car and who knows where the gift card funds may be. His niece is embarrassed by what she did, learning a lesson the hard way.

"If it's too good to be true, like mom used to say, it probably is," he said.

Just remember cold hard cash is the currency of choice in America.

You shouldn't buy a car with gift cards to Target, Amazon or anywhere else and don't wire money for any reason to someone you don't know.

Meet in person, look at the car and test drive it. Buying cars online can work, but you just have to protect yourself.

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