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Old August 20, 2014, 10:01 AM   #1
Machineguntony
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Be careful purchasing MGs online

Just a heads up fellas...

I have been enhancing and adding to my machine gun collection. During this time, I have received numerous fake and fraudulent offers to sell and buy.

Recently, I was contacted by a very reputable and honest (and awesome) local dealer, who told me that they had been contacted by another reputable dealer who wanted to sell me a MG. My local dealer stated that they ran the MG and that the machine gun came back as legit. The local dealer is nationally known, so the local dealer proposed to the seller that the seller ship the gun to the local dealer, after ATF approved the Form 3, and then upon delivery, the local dealer would pay the seller. This set up would be acceptable because the local dealer was nationally known and has a good reputation. The seller refused and wanted cash up front, and then when the local dealer did not ship the cash, the seller disappeared.

This is surely a fraudulent seller. The facts above plus this seller's willingness to sell the MG at 1/2 the market value was a very strong indicator that this was a fraudulent seller.

It is very easy for a fraudulent seller to get a real serial number from the same state or locality in which the fraudulent seller resides, and then pass of the gun as if owned by the fraudulent seller. Then when you or your local dealer run the serial number, it comes back to the fraudulent sellers state and even name (because the fraudulent seller assumed the persona of the real owner).

About a month ago a friend of mine showed me a picture of an M60E6 that someone offered to him for sale. The seller was someone in Texas. It was a real M60E6, and this proposed M60E6 really is currently in Texas. The E6 upgrade is very hard to obtain and is very rare, but the seller had to part with the gun and was willing to sell it for an amazing price. But it was actually my M60E6, and the picture was stolen from this forum.

A survey of Sturm shows lots of fraudulent sellers. So this appears to be a real problem.

Guys, be careful when buying MGs online. You really have no choice but to buy online because the broader market is online, but be careful when buying OR SELLING. Check, double check, and call the seller. Maybe have someone go examine the gun in person and have a respected intermediary hold the gun and funds in trust. Just because a serial number comes back as real doesn't mean the deal is real. Finally, anyone giving you too good of a deal on a MG should be viewed very suspiciously.

BTW, in case you're wondering how you can be a victim when you're selling, the answer is that some fraudulent buys will use the old check scam. You possess the gun, after all, so how can you be scammed? The buyer will agree to pay you $30,000 for your MP5, but then send you a check for $35,000. They'll say something like, "I thought we said $35,000, I must have confused your gun with the other MP5 on gunbroker". You go and deposit the check, and lo and behold, two days later there is $35,000 in your account. You send the $5,000 overpayment refund to the buyer. A month later your bank tells you that the $35,000 check bounced. The bank now demand/sues you for the missing $5,000. You are on the hook for the $5,000.

As a show and tell, here is MY E6.

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Last edited by Machineguntony; August 20, 2014 at 02:30 PM.
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Old August 20, 2014, 10:29 AM   #2
TXAZ
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If the scammers put half their efforts into something positive, they'd likely be much better off.
Thanks for the heads up MGT.
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Old August 20, 2014, 10:59 AM   #3
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Excellent post... while I'll never be able to afford FA stuff, your post is informative and spot on, especially the check scam... I see it a lot in my job as a deputy.

BUT... I do have an issued Colt Commando that's FA I can enjoy until I retire...lol.

Good Lord what a nice MG....
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Old August 20, 2014, 02:18 PM   #4
Machineguntony
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I am sad to hear that people fall for this scam so often. Part of the problem is that banks do not educate people on how the bank system works.

A lot of people do not know that when you deposit a check into your bank account, the money that is in your account is not really there when you first have a chance to see it. The banks say that the check has 'cleared', when really what they mean is that the funds are 'available'. The available funds are actually an extension of credit that the bank offers to its customers based on deposit history, called a 'float'. The money is usually not transferred from bank to bank for at least a few weeks or maybe a month later.

During this float period, the account holder thinks they really have the money. The account holder starts to spend the funds, and usually the funds will be genuinely available because the payor is a genuine payor. Because the account holder has always used this 'float ' system for all of his life without problems, and actually, without even being aware that he was using such a system, he becomes vulnerable to this scheme.

I have seen people be scammed for high five figures on this check scam.

Finally, if you fall for this scam, the account holder is on the hook, not the bank. The bank may legally offset the deficit with any funds available in your account. If you don't have the funds to cover the offset, then the bank may sue you.
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Old August 20, 2014, 03:04 PM   #5
Brian Pfleuger
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As much appreciation as I have for the "Artwork" on the photo, you might find it easier to swallow to simply use a watermark that says "Not For Sale".
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Old August 20, 2014, 04:15 PM   #6
g.willikers
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In this day and age, why on earth would it take more than an instant for a check to clear, and funds to transfer from the check writer's account to the payee's?
Does a wire transfer take that long?
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Old August 20, 2014, 10:06 PM   #7
Ricklin
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Common Scam

Welcome to the wild and woolly world of the web.

The only variable here is that the product is FA firearms. These type of scams are going down every day. Cars, trucks, bikes, etc, etc.

In fact it does not have to be a big ticket item, but typically they do go for the big bucks. If you offer up most anything for sale and advertise it online, you can almost count on a scammer, and the "certified check" scam that Tony described earlier.

I'm sure E-bay employs dozens of people just running down the frauds. Many of the smaller venues have little or no resources to try to protect their users. Not to mention that the scammers are very creative.

The fake cashiers check scam happened to me, but I fortunately was wise to it and did not get burned. The scammer had responded to a car I had for sale. I turned the check over to my credit union, knowing it was a fake. Law enforcement is of little help, or at least that was my experience. My credit union wanted the check just to use for an example for their tellers. It was not even a very good fake.

Don't know the reason that it takes time for these type of checks to clear, (or not) but it does.

Buyers and sellers beware. Use a reputable escrow service.
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Old August 20, 2014, 10:23 PM   #8
Machineguntony
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G., there are many reasons. The main reason being that the decision to pay a draft is a process where one institution has to make a request to another institution, and the paying institution must verify the demand. This process is called 'presentment', and takes time to verify.

I can talk to you all day about banking issues, but this isn't the forum, and only a specific type of people find it interesting.

Also, I thought the hearts were kinda cute. My girlfriend loves pink.
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Old August 21, 2014, 05:05 AM   #9
JT-AR-MG42
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Interesting OP.

Why would you not share the name of this suspicious dealer/seller?
Quote:
The local dealer is nationally known, so the local dealer proposed to the seller that the seller ship the gun to the local dealer, after ATF approved the Form 3, and then upon delivery, the local dealer would pay the seller. This set up would be acceptable because the local dealer was nationally known and has a good reputation.
If a nationally known dealer expected me to transfer and ship a gun before receiving any payment?
As far as the ATFE is concerned, an approved form 3 or 4 (that you signed) plus possession of the gun equals a done deal!

I would be interested to see how many sellers go for that.

Would you sell your 60 like that?

Quote:
Maybe have someone go examine the gun in person and have a respected intermediary hold the gun and funds in trust.
How many strangers or acquaintances, no matter their reputation, would you trust to guarantee the deal and gun
or to hold 35,000 of your money for 8 or 9 months?

Just spend a day on a plane and visit a different area of the Country to look over the gun you are going to buy.
If you have any qualms after meeting the seller and/or looking it over in person, just back out and enjoy the rest of the day in a new town.

Phony CCs are one thing, but the overpaid check thing is beyond my understanding and gives a new definition of gullible.

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Old August 21, 2014, 08:06 AM   #10
Machineguntony
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I don't know the identity of the seller. It was most likely a fake seller, so the identity was probably a fake identity. The local dealer is innocent.
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Old August 21, 2014, 08:16 AM   #11
Brian Pfleuger
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Be careful purchasing MGs online

New definition of gullible?

Hell, comparatively, that's a convincing one. You do realize that the Nigerian prince/general/dignitary scam still runs every day, right?

I worked in a bank for 4 1/2 years. You might be shocked at the scams that people fall for. People will argue that "THIS one is different!" even after you look it up on the Internet and show them the scam.

Scam ads sometimes nearly out number legit ads for some items on Craigslist. Pick a fairly expensive item like a late model motorcycle. The highest prevalence is for bikes with scam prices $3,000-$8,000, meaning legit cost would be $5-$12k. Look at Craigslist ads until you find one that's listed for 1/2-2/3 what all the others are selling for and then contact the scammer (It will be a scammer). They'll be out of town, deployed, had to move suddenly, etc, but they can ship it to you. You don't even have to pay until you receive it, just cover the shipping, a mere $500.

Obviously, it's so common because it works. They wouldn't do it if it didn't. People are STOOOPID.
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Old August 21, 2014, 08:30 AM   #12
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When selling NFA, with that kind of money everyone should be using wired funds and possibly an attorney's trust account. We're talking roughly 10K for AC556's, and that's the low end. Would you take a personal check for your house?
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Old August 21, 2014, 10:51 AM   #13
Machineguntony
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Just be cautious.
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Old August 21, 2014, 05:39 PM   #14
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I've wondered given the political climate and all the trouble gun dealers have had finding banks that will deal with them how hard it would be to setup an escrow for the item. I bought a mac from my local FFL so I could see it and no transfer issues there but for a MANY thousand dollar investment I'm surprised more formal contracts are not drawn up for these sales.

I've only been in the NFA game for a couple years now but it amazes me how lax some of the sales are in regards to securing funds.
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Old August 21, 2014, 08:35 PM   #15
Machineguntony
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Coach,

What good would a contract do if the signor was a Nigerian prince?

It isn't about the system, it is about people's ignorance and weaknesses.
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Old August 22, 2014, 03:29 PM   #16
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Great post.

I bought my first MG from a guy off Sturm in MA and merrily sent a $2800 check to him. Fortunatly everything worked out fine, but I'd be hesitant to do that again.

Going forward, I'll only buy from legit dealers online (can't recommend Ruben Mendiola at dealernfa.com enough) or from someone I've met face-to-face at their house to see the gun.
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Old September 28, 2014, 09:33 PM   #17
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What it's really about is GREED. On both ends of the deal. Everybody wants to screw over the other guy.

I sold a gun recently, low 4 figures, and told the buyer I wanted a POMOs only. He offered another form and I said NO, only POMOs. Low and behold, I received a bank money order, so I thought I would just deposit the funds and wait 2 weeks for clearance. When I took the MO to my bank and asked them how long it would take for the MO to clear, they gave me all kinds of song and dance about availability of funds, which is not clearance. I even talked with a bank officer (just an overpaid teller really) and STILL could not get a straight answer. So I held the gun for three weeks to ensure clearance of funds. It ended well for me thankfully.

I guess the upshot of this story is that not even bank employees or officers are really that knowledgeable about what constitutes clearance of funds. Just exercise all due caution and deal with reputable dealers that you can actually talk to.
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Old September 29, 2014, 11:19 AM   #18
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Isn't this a good excuse to set up an Escrow account, when dealing with firearms in the 10's of thousands of dollars?
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