Ways to avoid getting scammed in the classifieds

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by pscipio03, Mar 7, 2017.

  1. pscipio03

    pscipio03 Fun O' Meter on FULL

    Mar 11, 2013
    This is by no means an all exclusive list and I would really request additional input on ways you've avoided scams in the past. But, without further ado, here are some ways I have kept scam-free (knock on wood) over the years of doing online sales/trading:
    1. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. I would repeat this 300 times with glowing pink letters, but I don't know how to do that, so please reread this 300 times.
    2. If it's a seasoned member, with solid classifieds feedback, and the price is still too good to be true one of two things has occurred: That member's account has been hacked and someone is trying to scam you through that member's account (IM'ing the member may not work because the scammer has changed the associated email address to theirs); or 2. That member has died and their spouse is selling the gun(s) at whatever crazy low price we told our spouse we paid for it originally. In that case, congrats on your $750 Chen custom build.
    3. Call and text the member. I prefer calling. If I'm dealing with a John Smith, and the person talking to me sounds more like a Viktor Chobonski, we've got problems. Also, the member should have no reservations about giving out his/her number anyway.
    4. Join date means nothing to me. I don't care if the member has been here since 2011. I need multiple posts as well. Anyone can join and just post once or twice each month over a couple of years and build up time here, but have only 30 posts.
    5. View the trading profile. Then, view the actual thread on what was traded/bought. If you see a pattern of $15 trades/sales, I'm not sold on a $3,000 purchase. Dig deeper.
    6. Ask to see a picture of the firearm with a handwritten PostIt note or piece of paper with whatever info you want. I usually request their member name handwritten and placed on the grip. Make sure it's handwritten- Photoshop is powerful. You can also ask to have it in the ejection port to make it even harder to forge.
    7. Use tineye.com to see if the pic posted has been posted elsewhere. Tineye has access to over 17 billion pictures on the internet and will tell you web addresses where that pic has shown up.
    8. If the seller/buyer says they can't seem to post new pics, okay, tell them to take the pic and text it to your phone. They still say they can't do it, tell them to grab whatever family member that is 21 or younger and get help doing it.
    9. If the member is new, ask them for other forums they are members of where they have feedback on trades/buys/sells. Make sure their forum name there is the same as it is on Addicts.
    10. Face to face trumps mail all day every day. Meet in a brightly lit, heavily frequented place. Grocery story parking lots are great; police parking lots are better; police station is best. Oh, and if you CCW... bring it with you.
    11. Cashier's checks can still be fake. They may even clear but 2 months later you're going to get a knock at the door or a bad phone call and you'll owe back your bank that money.
    12. Tell the seller you'll wait to send the money once you have the item. If you're selling, you'll send once you have the money and it's cleared.
    13. Check forums dedicated to the brand of firearm you buying. See if it's posted there for sale as well and see what the price is. Almost every brand of firearm has a dedicated forum and the vast majority of those forums have classified sections.
    14. Check out some of their posts. If it's random posts like "What to do when an alien attacks" or responses to postings that are one or two words or just plain weird, they are just trying to build up their posting numbers.
  2. SCS1911

    SCS1911 Failed all therapy

    Oct 5, 2012
    Damn fine list. Thanks for posting this info for all to benefit from.
    Kip likes this.

  3. Kip

    Kip Sir Kip Esquire

    Apr 12, 2016
    I'll write after I read #1 299 more times!!
    Good list,like the note handwritten thing,seems like a quick way to weed out a-well,a weed!!!
  4. fusegsp

    fusegsp New Member

    Mar 7, 2017
    Good list. I'd also look out for strange requests. I've had people want to send a check and have someone else pick up the gun, offer to pay more than I'm asking, etc.
    Kip likes this.
  5. Stromburg

    Stromburg Well-Known Member

    Nov 6, 2015
    #12 Tell the seller you'll wait to send the money once you have the item.

    Good advice for new members wanting to sell, be open to shipping the firearm before receiving payment, this is how my first sale here was done, of course the buyer had a good feedback, it takes time to build a solid reputation.
    boatdoc, NewWaveGuy01 and Kip like this.
  6. SCS1911

    SCS1911 Failed all therapy

    Oct 5, 2012
    I would never send a $5,000.00 gun without having the funds clear my bank first.
    boatdoc, Rick Clowers, Ronwiz and 3 others like this.
  7. Colorado Sonny

    Colorado Sonny Deo Volente Supporting Addict

    Sep 25, 2015
    Have the seller send the Gun to your local FFL. Then send the cash.

    If you are the seller, send it only to an FFL.

    Get/send the FFL copy before any action. Check everything out at https://www.atfonline.gov/fflezcheck/

    What are a few bucks to have a trusted FFL act as your escrow agent?
    boatdoc, QNman, Rick Clowers and 3 others like this.
  8. MicahFett

    MicahFett Member

    Jan 10, 2017
    I've got no plans for making any purchases anytime soon (because I am mostly broke) but I always worry about these things. This sounds like a really good way to handle it.
    boatdoc and Kip like this.
  9. SCS1911

    SCS1911 Failed all therapy

    Oct 5, 2012
    Or better yet, take the gun to MY trusted FFL. Have them contact the buyers FFL telling them they will hold it there until the money clears, and then proceed to send it.
  10. Stromburg

    Stromburg Well-Known Member

    Nov 6, 2015
    This^^^^^^ is what I do on all sales now, once I receive a tracking number for the payment, I drop the pistol off at my FFL until payment is received.

    Edit: I also start a separate email with the buyer and cc my FFL.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2017
    VAWATCHGUY and Kip like this.
  11. otofly

    otofly Well-Known Member

    Mar 4, 2017
    All good advice. Still the best #1 If it sounds to good to be true it is. I got scammed on Auto trader 10 years ago. Even after talking to the party involved and sending 10% to have the car shipped for inspection I never saw my 10% again. He and his partner were caught and I just got some of my money back, as did 200 other suckers , after the feds prosecuted and obtained some of his left over assets. Not a good feeling and a hard lesson to learn at any age.
  12. jaydoc

    jaydoc i'm riding a turtle!

    Aug 10, 2012
    Just buy from Bender! We all know him, he has good stats and if you wait a bit, what you want will eventually pass through his hands:)

    More seriously, buying from the regulars on Addicts is one way to stay safe.

    VAWATCHGUY Well-Known Member

    Nov 16, 2012
    Agree totally about Bender and "regulars." Good folks here.
    Rick Clowers, wcanterbury and Kip like this.
  14. WWB

    WWB Administrator Staff Member Admin Moderator Supporting Addict

    Apr 11, 2015
    I have to agree with every word of that....:thumbs:
    Rick Clowers, Kip and VAWATCHGUY like this.
  15. QNman

    QNman 1911 Lover Supporting Addict

    Feb 28, 2012
    Nice list! Thanks! I hadn't heard of tineye before.
  16. jlp

    jlp Well-Known Member

    Jan 15, 2017
    I have one more to add to the list, google earth the address they tell you they are from. I once did this and it came up as a convenience store in a bad neighborhood. Yes it was a scam and no they didn't get me.
    wcanterbury likes this.
  17. tarosean

    tarosean Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2013
    Also stay away from NR (Not Rated) people on the auction sites. (Gunbroker, etc.)
    wcanterbury likes this.
  18. gun_fan111

    gun_fan111 Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2014
    I would even go one step further. If a person has only a few ratings and they are all from NR users or users with 1-2 ratings themselves - stay away.
    wcanterbury likes this.
  19. Robert F. Ciancio Jr.

    Robert F. Ciancio Jr. Si vis pacem, para bellum

    Jun 25, 2014
    I don't think I would ever buy anything on line except from you guys here. Even then, I'd PM one of the guys I've gotten to know and ask their advise on the seller.
    wcanterbury and Kip like this.
  20. Glock2740

    Glock2740 1911 addict Staff Member Moderator

    Aug 16, 2011
    Get a phone number and actually have a texts and verbal conversation.
    Also an email address that you can swap info and pics.
    Those two things make me feel more at ease.
    VAWATCHGUY likes this.

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