Common online firearm scams
Buyers aren't the only ones who risk getting scammed. Sellers get scammed too. And not always by professional criminals. Sometimes ordinary people behave badly and the results are the same.
Keep in mind that all the major payment platforms prohibit firearms. Unless you are using GunTab for your online firearm transactions, you are exposing yourself to a wide variety of risks. In that case, you should make sure you're familiar with the most common scams.
How buyers get scammed
- Money Orders and Cashier's Checks. The Buyer mails a USPS money order or cashier's check to the Seller. The Seller cashes it, ships nothing, and stops responding.
- Personal Checks. The Buyer mails a personal check to the Seller. The Seller cashes the check, ships nothing, and stops responding. Sometimes the Seller uses the details on the check to steal the Buyer's identity and withdraws the remaining funds from the Buyer's bank account.
- Fake Retail Websites. There are hundreds of firearm scam websites like StateGunStore.com. The Buyer pays by Cash App, PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, cryptocurrency, or even credit card. The Seller keeps the money. The Buyer may get reimbursed if paying by credit card, but will likely suffer identity theft.
- Bait And Switch. The Buyer pays the Seller, and the Seller ships the firearm. But the firearm is not as the Seller described it. It might be damaged, missing parts, or even be the wrong model. The Seller refuses to accept a return and the Buyer is stuck with it.
- Lost In The Mail. The Buyer mails payment to the Seller. The Seller says he has not received it and asks the Buyer to wait to see if it shows up. In truth, the Seller already deposited the payment and is waiting for it to clear. As soon as it clears, the Seller transfers it to another account and disappears.
- Perpetual Delay. The Buyer sends an irrevocable payment (money order or cashier's check) to the Seller. The Seller cashes the payment, but doesn't ship the gun. The Buyer asks for updates every few days, and the Seller always responds with some excuse. Weeks pass like this, and the Seller still doesn't ship the gun. Finally the Buyer asks for a refund, but Seller asks him to keep waiting. Unable to get the money back, the Buyer eventually gives up.
How sellers get scammed
- Stolen Checks. The Buyer sends a personal check that has been stolen from the real bank account owner. A few months later the real owner discovers the fraudulent charge and issues a chargeback. The bank removes the funds from the Seller's account. The Seller disputes the chargeback, but loses. The bank returns the funds to the real bank account owner.
- Forged Payments. The Buyer sends a forged check or money order to the Seller. The Seller deposits it, and it even fools the bank just long enough for the Buyer to go pick up the firearm from the FFL. The bank discovers the payment was fraudulent and removes the funds from the Seller's account. The Buyer disappears.
- Buyer's Remorse. The Buyer pays, receives the gun, but then decides a different gun would suit him better. The Buyer asks to return the gun, but the Seller declines. A few weeks later the Buyer issues a chargeback. The Seller spends hours disputing the chargeback. If he loses, he is even forced to pay for shipping on the return.
- Financial Hardship. The Buyer sends a personal check to the Seller. A few months later the Buyer encounters some financial hardship and issues a chargeback in hope of scraping up some spending money. The bank removes the funds from the Seller's bank account. The Seller spends hours disputing the chargeback.
- Violating PayPal Policy. Buyer pays via PayPal or some other payment platform that prohibits firearms. The Buyer is unreasonable and becomes angry about the transaction for some reason. Out of spite, the Buyer notifies the payment platform that the transaction was for a firearm. The platform seizes all the funds in the Seller's PayPal account, and permanently disables it.
How GunTab protects from scams
GunTab protects you in all of the fraud scenarios listed above. Here is how:
- We hold the Buyer's funds until the transaction is complete. This way the Seller can't run off with the Buyer's money, or get away with a bait-and-switch.
- We enforce timelines. For example, if the Seller doesn't ship within 5 days, GunTab cancels the transaction and returns the Buyer's funds.
- We use sophisticated fraud detection. Every GunTab transaction is heavily analyzed to ensure it is legitimate.
- We handle chargebacks. If a chargeback is issued for a payment on a GunTab transaction, you aren't responsible for fighting it – GunTab is.
Don't want to get scammed? Open a free account to make sure your online firearm transactions are totally safe and simple.