Editor’s Note: Today’s article comes to us courtesy of GoWild, an outdoor social-media platform. As “AmmoGeddon”–the nationwide shortage of ammunition that began with the COVID-19 pandemic–continues, many consumers’ desperation for ammo has caused them to be fooled by fake scammers. Here’s what you need to know.
Scammers are aiming for your ammo purchases.
GoWild’s security team has flagged a record amount of firearms scammers focusing on gun accessories over the last few weeks, especially with ammunition. While GoWild deletes the scammers from its platform immediately upon identification, the company has also found scammers circulating through other social networks, and is therefore releasing tips to help shoppers identify the scammers.
“With gun sales at an all-time high and ammunition in short supply, scammers see a rich opportunity,” said firearms enthusiast and GoWild Cofounder, President, Zack Grimes. “Buying ammo online is safe if you’re working with a known reputable company—I do it all the time. But these scammers are taking advantage of millions of new gun owners and even some long-time firearms owners.”
About the Scammers
Most of the scammers are operating from outside of the United States. They are not only using fake business names, they’re creating fake logos, addresses and websites to pose as legitimate companies. The content posted usually appears to be stolen.
At first glance and especially to an untrained eye, it can be tough to tell if a company is legitimate. But GoWild’s tips below will help consumers better identify scammers.
Tips to Avoid Being Scammed
- If it’s too good of a deal, it is
Scammers often list prices for half MSRP.
- Don’t take the convo to another platform
On social media platforms, scammers nearly always ask to speak via direct message or will often ask to use another chat app (WeChat, Hangouts, etc.).
- Be leery of messaging app purchases with third party payments
Many scammers are selling via direct messaging through social media platforms, not real websites. They are asking for customers to use Venmo or Cash App to send payment. If the scammer has a website, credit card will sometimes not be an option. The only payment options are often Zelle, PayPal, Cash App, Venmo and even Bitcoin. GoWild does not recommend trusting sellers who direct messaged you and want to use third party payment apps. The company also recommends against trusting retailers who don’t accept credit cards.
- Check for website security indicators
Real retailers will have an SSL certificate, which ensures a secure connection for transferring personal data. Tap the lock at the beginning of a web URL to see if your connection is secure. Please note GoWild has still identified scammers with SSL certificates for fake websites.
- Look for confusing sentences or misspellings
Scammer communication will often be confusing and with poor grammar. Scammer websites are chock-full of typos and glaring mistakes. GoWild has found that many of the scammer websites are using copy and images from established businesses. One scam website listed its own fake name but forgot to change the original retailer’s name in the next paragraph.
- Check the business address
It sounds simple but it’s one of the easiest ways to verify a real business. Business addresses for scammers are always fake. A simple check online will often lead you to find the website’s address listing is not even a real address. If you can’t find an address, be leary.
- When in doubt, don’t buy
If you buy, the scammers are going to have not only your payment information, but your home address. Even with this firearm and ammo shortage, it’s not worth it.
- Simply put: Buy from trusted sources. ______________________________________________________________________________
We here at Freedom’s Lodge (and our sister publications, Guns & Gadgets Daily, Popular Outdoorsman, Popular EDC, and Current Homesteading) pledge to continue keeping you up-to-date on the latest information you need to know to keep your guns running and your ammo closet full. Our team boasts a combined industry experience and insider know-how that spans decades and multiple platforms, and together with our industry partners, we insist on only the best in quality and customer service.