A retailer going by the name “Exchange Inc.” is attempting to dupe military shoppers into big-ticket purchases but has no relationship to the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, AAFES said in a Wednesday announcement.

Scammers have operated as Exchange Inc. to broker the sales of vehicles and vehicle parts, AAFES said in the announcement. It’s not a new scam, officials said, but it’s recently branched out to include the sale of boat engines.

Some ways to tell whether you’re dealing with an exchange impostor:

  • AAFES isn’t allowed to sell vehicles in the continental U.S. If you’re buying a vehicle stateside, you’re not buying from the exchange.
  • The scammers frequently request payment via untraceable, generally unrefundable methods, such as third-party gift cards like Google Play cards.
  • The transaction comes via a classified ad or a resale website. AAFES only operates on installations and via the exchange web portal.

Shoppers should verify any suspicious payment requests by calling the AAFES customer service line at 800-527-2345, officials said. Those who believe they have been scammed can file a complaint through the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.

Noah Nash is a rising senior at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. At school, he is the editor in chief of the Collegian Magazine and the digital director of the Collegian, Kenyon's newspaper.

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