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We posted this in the Classifieds this morning as a closed alert/warning . If you have any security suggestions that we should consider adding to the existing warnings , you can post/discuss here .

Like was stated , we can't read intentions and the thieves are getting more skilled as time passes . If an item looks too good , it probably is . If it takes a little longer to ask someone else's advice on an item and you lose it to another member , it'll be ok . But you'll still have the money in your pocket .

I receive pm's from members asking questions about a deal that might be going bad . I had one in the past week where the buyer contacted me because he hadn't received the items he purchased and the seller wasn't communicating . It looked like his money was gone .... the item arrived today . The USPS/FedEx/UPS shippers are overwhelmed with volume . It's taking weeks instead of days . That said , good communications would've gone a long way .
Just an fyi .

Good hunting gentlemen .
 

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A couple of hints about scammers. A lot of them now are using gmail addresses. I don't know why, but they are. Also, look at the language if someone contacts you in reply to your Want To Buy ad. It might sound silly, but if the reply is written like it was composed using Google Translate or Rosetta Stone, it's probably a scam. Or a reply that says something like "A friend has what you're looking for" or "I know where one of those is" and they give a phone number to call. Do yourself a favor and don't call.

And stop putting your e-mail address in your For Sale or Want To Buy ads! You're just begging to be tracked, hacked, scammed, and drowned in B.S. advertising e-mail spam. Use this forum's messaging system to conduct your buying and selling business. It's all too easy for scammers and spammers to harvest e-mail addresses off Internet forums, no matter how "secure" a forum claims to be.

Don't be afraid to report something you think is a scam. No one's gonna know you did it except you and the mods or the Admin. And if it's a false alarm, no problem...no one will know that, either.

Most of all, just use some common sense. No one's gonna sell you your Colt grail gun for a ridiculously low price. They just aren't.
 

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A couple of hints about scammers. A lot of them now are using gmail addresses. I don't know why, but they are. Also, look at the language if someone contacts you in reply to your Want To Buy ad. It might sound silly, but if the reply is written like it was composed using Google Translate or Rosetta Stone, it's probably a scam. Or a reply that says something like "A friend has what you're looking for" or "I know where one of those is" and they give a phone number to call. Do yourself a favor and don't call.

And stop putting your e-mail address in your For Sale or Want To Buy ads! You're just begging to be tracked, hacked, scammed, and drowned in B.S. advertising e-mail spam. Use this forum's messaging system to conduct your buying and selling business. It's all too easy for scammers and spammers to harvest e-mail addresses off Internet forums, no matter how "secure" a forum claims to be.

Don't be afraid to report something you think is a scam. No one's gonna know you did it except you and the mods or the Admin. And if it's a false alarm, no problem...no one will know that, either.

Most of all, just use some common sense. No one's gonna sell you your Colt grail gun for a ridiculously low price. They just aren't.
Another simple, but very useful trick is if you are unsure about a sale, always request that the seller take a photo of the item for sale within parameters you control. Such as, they write your name on a piece of paper and take a photo of it next to the item they are selling.

This doesn't guarantee it isn't a scam, but it does prove they actually have the gun they claim to be selling, which goes a long way toward proving legitimacy. If they can't provide a photo you request, whether excuses or they simply don't want to, you have all the evidence you need to move on and not waste your time with them, because chances are, they don't own the gun in the pictures.

Anyone genuinely looking to sell a firearm shouldn't mind taking an extra photo at the request of the buyer.
 

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A photo including that day's newspaper will work as well. A legit seller shouldn't mind the extra steps.
 

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My collection isn't very big because I buy locally and I am sure they have what they say. I would love to buy guns and have them shipped here but just don't trust the system.
You shouldn't be too afraid of online deals. They almost always go as smoothly as you would like them to. However, if you're afraid of theft, stick to larger dealers who accept credit card payment. Most people on Gunbroker (for example) are legitimate, especially if you look for those with thousands of reviews. Then as well, if you use a credit card (most large dealers accept CC), should theft occur, it's very easy to file fraud through a credit card company and have them back-charge the expense. It's a great protection and gives ease of mind.
 

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May I suggest that a set time after joining the forum and a set number of posts have been achieved that a member is allowed to conduct transactions whether buying or selling. I hope this is not perceived as prejudicial to junior members
but it does eliminate the "fly by nights" that are looking to just do business here.
When it comes to scams there is no lack of ingenuity, if they'd only work just as hard in an honest pursuit... Oh, what was I thinking?!
 

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May I suggest that a set time after joining the forum and a set number of posts have been achieved that a member is allowed to conduct transactions whether buying or selling. I hope this is not perceived as prejudicial to junior members
but it does eliminate the "fly by nights" that are looking to just do business here.
When it comes to scams there is no lack of ingenuity, if they'd only work just as hard in an honest pursuit... Oh, what was I thinking?!
There already is a 50 post count minimum to access the WTB/WTS forums, account age would be an interesting requirement to add to that. Not sure what a good amount of time would be, though.
 

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I like, and have mentioned before, vetting methods. Ask them to give you a photo of the item with a piece of paper with your name on it. Sellers will have to understand it's nothing personal, just risk avoidance.

Certified Seller - I'm thinking we need a more technical method to certify sellers. A random member that randomly posts answers to threads here, for a set amount of time, isn't enough. A child could scam in that system, and these guys are getting smarter, though usually pretty stupid. We need a 3rd party vetting. Like when you get a security clearance, you don't have access until you are "cleared". What would that look like? We'd have to think about it. Maybe there is a service that can verify people already out there. Maybe for new/uncertified sellers we need them to ship the GUN FIRST, THEN you PAY. Most would balk, unless protected somehow. See next:

Escrow Service - I'm thinking we need a more sure way to handle the transaction. That means an escrow service. That used to be common in collecting worlds, but is largely forgotten in the internet era of 'every man for himself' buying. It is a 3rd party that has no interest in either the item or the money. It receives both, and makes the transfer. If the money doesn't arrive in escrow, the service doesn't send the item. If the item isn't there, it doesn't send the money. Total safety for both, but we'd have to find one that would do this, with an FFL most likely. To some extent, ebay operates that way. You buy an item, send "ebay-paypal-credit card" the payment. They sort of hold it in "escrow", (actually they pay it out but can take it right back), until you have received the item and are happy.

We need one, or the other, or both before sending hundreds of dollars out into the ether of the internet.
 

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There already is a 50 post count minimum to access the WTB/WTS forums, account age would be an interesting requirement to add to that. Not sure what a good amount of time would be, though.
Let's not forget we had a member who was here for just short of a year and he turned out to be a scammer.
 

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There already is a 50 post count minimum to access the WTB/WTS forums, account age would be an interesting requirement to add to that. Not sure what a good amount of time would be, though.
A year as a contributing member and 100 post count seems reasonable or the classified section should be only for premium members.
 

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That's right, they will always figure out a workaround. I was an Electronic Warfare Tech in the Navy. Your side (USN) would come up with a measure to stop the enemy, like chaff. The other side would learn a countermeasure, like a better radar that ignored it. You'd find a way to make better chaff (counter-counter measure). Then they'd come up with an optical method that you couldn't jam....and so on . That is war. You come up with something (20 posts needed first) and they come up with a countermeasure (sleeper cell - post replies until ready to strike).

It's like the arbitrary "6 feet away for social distancing will protect you!" or "no more than 10 in a room!!" It's guess work and just based on statistically reducing risk, not stopping it. 100 posts, be a member for 1 year won't stop a sleeper membership. You need something better. Technical cyber counter warfare.
 

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What about making a selling member have a credit card on record? Like many sites do before reserving a hotel or such? What about making a selling member put $500 into some kind of holding account? There are better ways....we have to think of them. Don't let the enemy and cybercrooks beat us!
 

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The Consummate Collector
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Let's see if our membership can offer some suggestions to help prevent getting scammed.

Before you send out your hard earned dollars you may want to follow these guidelines:

If you don'r recognize the seller as one of our regular long time members then look back and read his postings. I did just that on a recent scammer and his postings sounded like he really was not that familiar with Colts. He just jumped in and said something like "That's a pretty gun". He was trying to get his 50 posts.

Ask the seller if he has any feedback on other selling sights and if so to provide the information.

Ask for a copy of his FFL or drivers license to really know who you are talking to.

Get his phone number and give him a call and see if your comfortable with how he sounds. Sometimes just a conversation will either give you a good feeling or a bad one.

If he provides photo's of the gun you need to really know if they are his or have been scammed off another site like Gunbroker. Search a few sites and see if that gun shows up. One of my guns on Gunsinternations has been used by scammers twice in the last two weeks. I have now watermarked all of my photos to help prevent this. Also always ask for a photo that he hasn't shown such as a close up of the trigger or the bottom of the grip. On an old Colt revolver I always ask for a photo showing the serial number on the crane and frame in one picture. If he gives some excuse to any of these then walk away.

Always remember, an ounce of precaution is worth a pound of cure.

Cam.
 

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No offense to anyone intended, but I‘d recommend resisting the “nanny state” temptation.

This is a discussion forum, not a sales platform, and it should not be the forum‘s job to institute procedures to protect those members who choose to use it for transactions.

All these minimums impose limits on new members, with questionable benefits for potential buyers; escrow services, credit cards, deposits and such require administrative time and organization and ultimately cost money.

If you decide to use the WTB/WTS section, do so at your own risk and use some of the excellent suggestions made in this thread. If you‘re not comfortable with that, stick to more structured platforms like Gunbroker.

I‘m just not a fan of the “There ought to be a law” approach when it comes to this stuff which is not central to the forum’s purpose. We’re all grown-ups here. Arrange your precautions based on your personal comfort level.
 
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