KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A 17-year old girl is warning others about a scam that made her look like a fool. The teen spent $1,600 on what she thought was a great deal on her first car. Instead, she says she’s learned that something that looks too good to be true usually is.
This scam involved buying a car from so-called “military” personnel who was deployed overseas.
Ordinarily, Nikki Reed, 17, says she would never send money to someone without see the vehicle first, but the deal on a 2005 Nissan Maxima was priced low, only $1,600. Reed also said the so-called military member promised that the transaction would be handled through a third-party, which was referred to as the Military Smart Program.
The program supposedly would hold Reed’s money until she received the car and agreed to purchase it. But once Reed sent a Moneygram to Portugal, both the seller and the Military Smart Program stopped answering their phones and disappeared.
“They said I had 15 days to decide if I wanted to purchase the car or not,” Reed explained. “I haven’t heard back from them. They won’t answer my calls, my emails. I haven’t heard anything. There’s nothing the police can do because it’s out of the country. Everybody said they can’t help me.”
There are a number of consumer websites warning buyers about this scam.
Experts say once you pay with Western Union or Moneygram there’s no real third-party that holds your money until you’re satisfied with the purchase.
Reed is a student at Kansas City Kansas Community College and works as a waitress to save her money for a car. She’s going to start saving again, and chalk to this up to a lesson learned.