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Old January 16, 2020, 06:32 PM   #1
tazbigdog
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WARNING..popshooting445..Fraud and Theft

A forum member, popshooting445, posted an ad on the forum for an M1 Garand on November 30, 2019. I responded to his ad through several pms and emails. I sent him a USPS money order, certified mail and it was delivered and signed by him.

He said it was a 2 day ship from him/FFL, and here it is over a week later, still no rifle.

I contacted him several more times through email inquiring about a tracking number. He said he was on the road. I contacted the FFL that he said was being shipped from, and they never met, nor received, nor shipped any firearm from him.

Today, I received a letter from him saying I was duped.

I don’t know if you have any more information on him, but I’ll be contacting the USPS, FBI and ATF about the interstate fraud and theft.

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Old January 16, 2020, 08:59 PM   #2
Nathan
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I hate that. We really count on a lot of integrity between buyers and sellers online.

I would contact mods privately for help.

They hate pissing matches on here....this will likely be shutdown before I post this!
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Old January 16, 2020, 11:28 PM   #3
Mal H
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For what it's worth, popshooting445 turned out to be one of those damned Nigerian scammers. Though it doesn't help tazbigdog at this point, all of his threads and posts have been deleted.

Anyone looking to buy an item here at TFL is welcome to contact us to see if the sellers IP address is the least bit suspicious. Sometimes that is the only way to stop them.
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Old January 18, 2020, 12:45 PM   #4
dyl
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In this case, would looking at their previous posts or forum activity given the scammer away? I'm trying to think of a safer way to do a transaction if they ask for a money order first.
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Old January 18, 2020, 01:00 PM   #5
Nathan
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We need an enterprising member to start an escrow service. Basically an intermediary that would receive the money, then signal the gun seller to send to him. Then he would confirm the gun basically met the item description, then send the gun and money on to their new home.

Until we get that, gun deals will be FTF or the buyer takes all the risk.

I belonged to another web group where a guy made good money doing this. He had a relatively large business with a store front. Basically? He could be found if he took gun or money, other than his fee.
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Old January 18, 2020, 05:16 PM   #6
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In this case, would looking at their previous posts or forum activity given the scammer away?
You would be amazed at how many scammers are detected and banned. And at the various approaches implemented to detect and ban many of the scammers--sometimes before they even register.

The problem is that some of them are smart, and they've refined their approach over the years so that detecting them can be very difficult at times.

There is simply no way to catch every single one of them.
Quote:
I'm trying to think of a safer way to do a transaction if they ask for a money order first.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mal H
Anyone looking to buy an item here at TFL is welcome to contact us to see if the sellers IP address is the least bit suspicious. Sometimes that is the only way to stop them.
Some other suggestions if you are suspicious.

1. Ask for a number of pictures OTHER than the ones already posted and try to think of creative ways for the pictures to be posed so as to insure that they are actually taken after your request. As in this case, often the item being sold is not actually in the scammer's possession. They have found pictures elsewhere and are using them in their ad but probably won't be able to take additional pictures of the item. It's also worthwhile to do a quick search to see if that item is (or has been) for sale elsewhere--the pictures have to come from somewhere.

2. Engage the seller in conversation past just the basics required to complete the transaction. Overseas scammers often don't speak English well and use various creative techniques to make their other posts sound correct, but those techniques won't work nearly as well in a conversation. U.S. scammers may have difficulty answering questions that should be simple for a real gun owner to respond to. I'm not talking about interrogating them, just asking about normal things like what load the gun prefers, how long they have owned it and where they got it, how it shoots, what range they shoot at locally, if they have other similar guns for sale, if they have accessories for the gun or know where to find certain parts/accessories for it. Use slang and technical gun terms in your questions. The actual information in the responses isn't as important as whether or not the responses make sense given the questions, how slang & technical terms are handled and how the responses flow when you read them.

3. Get as many details as you can. Scammers are making up a story and the more complicated the story gets, the harder it is to get the details right. Verify details that can be verified. If they will be using an FFL to ship on their end, contact the FFL and see if they exist and if they are aware of the situation/know the seller/have done business with the seller in the past.

4. Be careful if a seller has a relatively small number of posts outside the Buy/Sell/Trade subforums of TFL or has joined relatively recently, but keep in mind that the payoff can be big enough that a scammer may be willing to invest a considerable amount of time and effort on setup--in this case the setup time was over a year and the scammer made over 100 posts on TFL. Read past posts and look for inconsistencies or things that don't make sense. For example, one post that is coherent, well-written and that flows well followed by another post that is none of those things. The more time they spend on setup and the more posts they make, the more the chances that gives you to find things that don't seem to make sense.

5. Be wary of deals that are too good or sellers that are too willing to reduce their sale price by significant amounts.

6. Forget about the deal if the person gets angry/pushy in the process. They're either scamming you or unreasonable and either way you don't need to do business with them.
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Old January 18, 2020, 09:32 PM   #7
Doyle
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Ok, if he was a Nigerian scammer than how did he pick up and sign a USPS money order?
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Old January 18, 2020, 09:53 PM   #8
cslinger
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As a seller I always offer to provide any specific additional pictures as request or provide any info etc.

As a buyer I tend to only buy from longer standing / known members of a forum. I have been here and on a couple other forums for A LONG time and generally know the “regulars” so to speak.

Thieves SUCK and I am sorry you got taken. Happens to the best of us.
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Old January 18, 2020, 09:56 PM   #9
Mal H
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doyle
Ok, if he was a Nigerian scammer than how did he pick up and sign a USPS money order?
That is a very good question, and is the reason I suggested to tazbigdog to continue with the Postal Inspectors. The scammers have to have someone over here who is accepting the money orders and cashing them.
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Old January 19, 2020, 07:36 AM   #10
TBM900
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I have all such purchases run through an FFL local to the seller

I contact & arrange for the FFL to receive my payment
Then for the seller to drop off the firearm
The FFL will do a quick check of the firearm, then hand over my payment
The FFL will then ship to me

Sure it may cost me an extra $20-30, but it isn't even about the money
Its about not letting a criminal win
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Old January 19, 2020, 06:37 PM   #11
dyl
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Quote:
in this case the setup time was over a year and the scammer made over 100 posts on TFL
Wow. Truth be told, with a setup that long I might have been fooled. A year!
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Old January 19, 2020, 08:18 PM   #12
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Some of these scammers are smart and willing to put in considerable time and effort.
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Old January 19, 2020, 08:22 PM   #13
JERRYS.
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references from members in good standing on this board is a must for a shipped deal. face to face will meet at a police station parking lot or no deal.
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Old February 8, 2020, 09:56 PM   #14
tazbigdog
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Just a short update. Filed a complaint with USPS and FBI; internet fraud and theft. Waiting for them to get back to me.

And I did get extensive pictures of it. Oh well.
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Old February 9, 2020, 06:06 AM   #15
JohnKSa
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I'm not suggesting you weren't diligent enough in your dealings with him. People asked for suggestions and I tried to make some.

For the record, I don't think it's possible to prevent being scammed with a 100% success rate in a transaction that's not face to face.
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Old February 9, 2020, 08:47 AM   #16
FITASC
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For the record, I don't think it's possible to prevent being scammed with a 100% success rate in a transaction that's not face to face.
I would suggest that even FTF you cannot prevent from getting scammed 100%, especially if the gun had been stolen elsewhere or from the seller's family itself.
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Old February 9, 2020, 01:13 PM   #17
2wheelwander
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I'd contact the BATF as well.
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Old February 25, 2020, 11:03 PM   #18
briandg
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There is no level of paranoia, cynicism, skepticism, whatever you want to call it, to successfully navigate all types of internet transactions. Not possible at all.

We all feel like we're pretty smart and some of us are. What we all ignore is one simple fact, that there are professional thieves. These professional thieves are smart, too, and they spend day in, day out, thinking about how to rip the other guys off. We are overconfident in our abilities and fail to recognize our weaknesses. Then, some guy who has taken all of the online courses on scamming manages to fool us.
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Old February 26, 2020, 03:39 PM   #19
GE-Minigun
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Tazbigdog…sorry to tell you this…you’re SOL. Lost money twice on the net, neither time through here, so there is that. First time was a Dillon 28ga conversion…went back and forth with the guy couple times, sent money, then crickets. After about a month, I thought I’d give the local PD a call just to see if anything could be done…couple days later I get a call from a detective saying money or conversion should be there within a couple days, if not let him know. Had money the next day, I contacted the detective and thanked him and asked how many were in his department…sent him a gift card to a local coffee shop…I truly had written off the money as lost. Second time was for a pistol, same deal…back and forth with emails, money sent, then crickets. Contacted everybody you did and as of today nothing has happened in two years…your money is gone. Only advice I can give and not that you’re asking for it…take it as an expensive lesson learned. Today if I don’t get pictures with something in the background with current date and talk on the phone, I walk…fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Sorry your money is gone.
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Old February 26, 2020, 03:48 PM   #20
NoSecondBest
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When I buy an item on the net like a gun I get the sellers address and do a Google search on him, his address, etc. If you can't find out anything about them, don't buy from them. I call them also and try to get a feel of what they're like and listen for accents, etc. There's a lot of info on the net about everyone if you take the time to look. Ask if they buy and sell on other forums also and what their "name" is on those sites. It just doesn't pay to simply go on trust with the amount of scammers out there. Sorry about your transaction going south.
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Old February 26, 2020, 07:20 PM   #21
keyzard
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I hate to say it, but if the seller won't take PayPal I won't buy. With PP I have some protection.

And if the seller says PP Friends and Family to avoid the fees, I calculate the fee they would be losing and add that to the total. I'll contact the seller to offer that as an option. If they refuse, I assume they are scamming.
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Old February 26, 2020, 07:53 PM   #22
Doyle
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I hate to say it, but if the seller won't take PayPal I won't buy. With PP I have some protection.
Unless it is for a firearm - then you are just as screwed.
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Old February 27, 2020, 01:17 AM   #23
JohnKSa
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And if the seller says PP Friends and Family to avoid the fees...
Using this option limits your ability to ask for help from PayPal if things go wrong. For one thing, Paypal will consider it to be admitting to comimtting fraud if you go to them for help on a F&F transaction that was really a disguised sale. Also, I don't think PayPal offers the same kind of protections for F&F transactions.

I wouldn't ever do business with someone who requested that a sale transaction be carried out as a F&F transfer.
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Old February 28, 2020, 05:09 AM   #24
armoredman
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On the other hand, I was accused of fraud on another board for a mistake that had nothing to do with me or the seller. I had purchased a USPS money order and sent it. The seller to it to the PO who told him it was fraudulent. What had happened is the contract PO I dealt with had a broken MO machine and had arranged for MOs from another location be sent to them. What happened is the ZIP code on the MO did not match the ZIP code for that PO and the receiving PO declared that made it fraudulent. After we cleared that up between everyone I got my product, however the entire issue made me aware of a problem I had never, ever heard of before. I also don't blame the seller - it certainly LOOKED bad on his end.
Good luck, sir, I hope you manage to salvage something from this.
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