Friday, July 21, 2023

The Internet is Swarming with Fraudulent Ammunition Sale Sites


The timeless cautionary phrase, "let the buyer beware," has now taken on new significance in the digital era. An influx of fraudulent activities on the Internet has become a concerning trend, and the firearms sector is far from exempt, with crooks aiming to defraud individuals of their hard-earned money.

These fraudsters bait their prey with irresistible deals that are hard to ignore. For the firearms community, these deals commonly involve ammunition. Advertisements promising over 50% savings are prevalent on social media platforms like Instagram, often coupled with directives like "DM for orders."

These deceitful operators have also established websites bearing names closely resembling legitimate ones, including AmmoLand News. We've recently been notified of a website called that offers ammunition at significant discounts. Upon placing an order, buyers receive an email requesting payment via Cash App, PayPal, Venmo, or Zelle.

If a customer transfers money, the deceitful seller vanishes. The customer loses their money and never receives their order. While PayPal offers buyer protection, most fraudsters require payments via the "friends and family" option, which eliminates all safeguards for the buyer.

It's essential to recognize several signs that indicate a scam. If a deal appears "too good to be true," it's likely a scheme to swindle your money. The profit margin on ammunition and firearms is relatively smaller than in other sectors. Therefore, if the prices on these scam sites were legitimate, these businesses would be operating at a loss.

Be wary of any online retailer that only sells via social media. If a firm has no website and only markets through Instagram, it's highly probable it's a scam. As selling ammunition and firearms on their platform violates Instagram's terms of service, no legitimate business would risk their survival on social media platforms.

Merely because a seller possesses a website doesn't mean they are legitimate. Scrutinize the site's contact information for a phone number. Be extra cautious if a retail site lacks a phone number. If there's a listed number, call it. If the site is fraudulent, the number is likely to be non-operational or directed to a voicemail system. Fraudsters often utilize services like Google Voice to project legitimacy. In the rare instances when a scammer answers the call, they'll likely have a thick accent, as most fake companies operate out of Nigeria, India, or Eastern Europe.

If the seller owns a website, examine their privacy policy. Many fraudulent sellers avoid writing a privacy policy and opt for copying the text from a reputable seller. These fraudsters know that most buyers won't scrutinize these policies. Most do not bother to erase the company names from whom they copied. If you encounter a site that includes a legitimate site's name in its policies, it's highly likely to be a scam.

Lastly, inspect the payment methods. Refrain from using PayPal, Venmo, Cash App, or Zelle. These payment services have policies against selling ammunition and firearms; therefore, legitimate businesses do not use these services. Fraudsters are aware that it's nearly impossible for customers to retrieve money from these apps. Also, never succumb to demands for payment via Bitcoin. Once Bitcoin leaves your wallet, it's irrevocable.

While it's impossible to completely eradicate these fraudsters from trying to dupe online shoppers, we can heighten awareness within the gun community. These scams will cease only when they cease to be profitable.

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