When buying guns online, it’s important to know how to spot scams. They can come in all shapes and sizes, from bogus sales to unauthorised charges or shipping issues.
When buying guns online, it’s important to be aware of potential phishing scams. Be aware that phishing scams are always evolving, so make sure you keep the track. Follow the statistics and trends, and pay attention for the following signs that could indicate possible phishing scams:
Suspicious or Unprofessional Websites
If you come across a website that looks unprofessional or has inaccurate information, this could be an indication of a scam. Be sure to take the time to research the company before making a purchase.
If the price of a gun is significantly lower than what you would expect, it could be an indication that something isn’t right. Take the time to look up the average market value of guns in your area and compare it to the price listed on the website.
Requests for Personal Information
Some scammers may try to collect personal information such as credit card numbers or Social Security numbers. Be sure to only provide necessary information when making a purchase and never give out any of your private information.
Requests for Payment via Money Transfer Services
If a seller requests payment via money transfer services such as Western Union or MoneyGram, this could be a red flag for a scam. Be sure to only use secure methods of payment such as PayPal or credit cards when buying guns online.
Requests to Meet in Person
It’s best to avoid meeting in person when buying guns online. If a seller insists on meeting in person with cash or another form of payment, it’s likely a scam and to walk away.
By following these, you can help protect yourself from phishing scams when buying guns online. Always do your research before making any purchases and never provide personal information or use money transfers when buying online.
Look for Red Flags in Ads and Posts
While many states have gun control laws, several have “red flag” laws that allow people to temporarily seize firearms from people they think are a threat. The laws are designed to prevent mass shootings before they happen and can help deter suicides, according to experts.
The law allows police, district attorneys and family members to petition the court to remove a person’s guns for a limited amount of time. These so-called extreme risk protection orders are credited with deterring at least 58 potential mass shootings in California since the law took effect.
Yet an Associated Press analysis found that despite the high profile of these laws, they are used far less often than they should be. Among 19 states with red flag laws, prosecutors removed guns from people just 15,049 times since 2020, or fewer than 10 per 100,000 adult residents.
That’s because many people aren’t aware that they can file a petition and get a gun removed from someone who might be dangerous. Besides, a movement by some sheriffs and politicians to declare so-called “sanctuary” counties – counties that resist gun control laws – has made it more difficult for authorities to enforce these laws.
Verify the Seller’s Credentials
When buying guns online, it’s important to verify the seller’s credentials. You should be able to verify their identity and whether they’re licensed to sell weapons.
Generally, the seller should be a licensed Federal Firearms Dealer (FFL). This means that they have a federal firearms license and that they’ve gone through extensive FBI or local law enforcement background checks.
The FFL will also be able to verify that the gun isn’t stolen or illegally seized. This is a critical step because it can make it easier for the government to track criminal activity that includes stealing and selling firearms.
Some states have laws that ban private sellers from selling guns to people they suspect may be prohibited from owning a weapon. These state-level regulations are meant to reduce the number of gun-related crimes.
Ask for an Itemized List of Parts and Accessories
An itemized list of parts and accessories is a good idea for anyone looking to buy or sell a gun. This will help you avoid scams, like those involving fake ammo or unlicensed accessories. An itemized list is also a handy way to track inventory, so you know what you have in stock at all times.
Getting an itemized list will also show that you are buying a legitimate product, versus a cheap knockoff. This is especially true if you are considering purchasing a new firearm, which can be a major investment. Be sure to ask for an itemized list, as well as a copy of the official receipt before you sign on the dotted line.
Consider Shipping Insurance
Shipping insurance is a great way to protect your guns when you buy them online. It can help prevent losses that are caused by theft, damage or delays in delivery.
Shipping insurance can be purchased from the carrier or a third-party provider. It typically costs less than shipping alone and offers greater coverage.
However, there are some limitations to carriers’ insurance policies. For instance, the USPS does not offer insurance on packages worth more than $100 or perishable items such as food or live animals. Similarly, UPS does not cover packages that have cash or valuables inside.
Using shipping software like ShipStation or ShipWorks can automatically apply insurance to shipments based on value. This can save you a lot of time and hassle.
Check the Return Policy
While shopping for guns online, it’s important to check the store’s return policy. This will help you decide if you’re ready to make a purchase or not.
Many gun and outdoor stores have strict policies regarding the return of firearms. However, if you don’t like the gun or it’s defective, there are some exceptions to the rules.
In most cases, you’ll have to pay for the shipping costs when returning an item. But in some cases, the return shipping costs can be waived if you receive a defective product.
You’ll also have to meet the return policy requirements, including ensuring the item is in new condition and all original packaging is included. Remember, you may have to wait up to 14 days for a refund or exchange to take place.
When purchasing a gun online, it is important to be vigilant and to carefully evaluate any potential purchase. Be sure to check the seller’s credentials, research the gun thoroughly and verify your state laws before making any purchase. Knowing how to spot fraud can help you avoid being scammed and ensure that you get the firearm of your choice at a fair price.