Guard Our Seniors From General Online & Phone Scams, Ammo Scam Warning

Opinion

Scam Warning Alert
istock

New Jersey – -(AmmoLand.com)- Our population who are in their golden years tends to be most vulnerable to schemes and scams.

Part of our corporal knowledge as firearms owners, Second Amendment advocates, etc. is the ability to remain hyper-vigilant. Many that pour through the pages of AmmoLand News would fancy themselves to be a sheepdog. With the new year springing into action, I wanted to bring up the topic of online and phone scams. In particular, confidence games being played on the elderly. We have a duty to help educate and guide our elders as they are navigating a world that others never had to deal with in the past. Here are some tips to go over with and share with your more mature friends and family members. These ideas are to help keep them safe from some modern cons going on today.

“You’ve been awarded…XXX” might be how the email starts.

Perhaps it’ll reference a business deal being offered or inheritance that you’re entitled to. The number of online and phone scams (this includes text messages) that are out there can be mind-blowing. It’s commonplace to get an email from a prince in a foreign land discussing your new good fortunes. I often wondered who’d fall subject to such solicitations? No one, right? That’s what I thought until I ran into someone that was fooled.

Luckily the individual who got hooked by a catfish did not have any “damages” that I was aware of, but who really knows. A catfish is a term used to describe someone online that’s pretending to be someone else. Generally, the term is applied to those lying while trying to engage in some sort of romantic exchange but is not limited to just relationship-related scams.

I was standing in the post office when a gentleman of the more mature persuasion was called on by one of the tellers. With a computer printout in his hand, he explained to the postal worker he was there to pick up his package. The postal worker delicately explained to the man that the US Postal service never sends out emails like the one he had in his hand. That man was disappointed to learn there was no package waiting for him at that location. What transpired prior to him getting to the post office? Hopefully not a monetary exchange.

When you’re receiving correspondence, phone calls, letters, etc. be wary of who it’s from. Scams come in all shapes and sizes. There are scams that involve getting an individual to send money or gift cards to the scammer. There are also scams that involve trying to get someone’s personal identifying information through trickery.

There are a number of things to keep in mind in such situations:

1) Be leery of suspicious emails and calls. Think to yourself “does this seem real?” If something seems fishy, let it alone. If you think the situation is legitimate, get as much information from the caller or off the email and do some homework. Solicit the help of a family member if you need help sifting through scams. Generally speaking, you’ll be able to identify a scam quickly.

2) Companies don’t ever ask for your password. If you get an email that says your account has been hacked and needs to be verified, don’t answer that email. That’s a phishing scam, one that involves trying to get your passwords, bank account numbers, birthday, etc. If you think the email you received is legitimate you can always call the source company to check the validity of it. (but DO NOT use any telephone numbers in the suspect email or text)

3) Stay alert if you’re getting calls from someone asking for money, especially if they’re claiming to be a family member. Do whatever you have to in order to verify that the person on the phone is who they say they are. Don’t get hooked into an emotional frenzy thinking someone you love is in trouble and now needs you to send them money, bank checks, or gift cards. Verify, verify, verify!

4) Don’t give out your personal identifying information to someone that reaches out to you. While this was discussed above, I feel it’s of importance to bring it up again. A pharmacy that’s part of a big chain will make calls to ensure customers have important information about their prescriptions. When I had an illness once, I got one such call and the pharmacist on the other end of the phone asked for my date of birth to verify my identity. I politely declined and explained to them “That’s not how this works. You don’t call me and ask for my information.” Why this pharmacy has this policy is beyond me, but I refused to comport, even though it was a legitimate call. Not all these calls will be legitimate though.

One way to protect yourself from these scams is to have a loved one handle your finances and accounts or at least be a second set of eyes. Let them deal with the emails and bill notifications. This isn’t something that people are thrilled about, but really, it’s liberating to not have to deal with the headaches or worry about missing some sort of a payment. If you do end up with a trusted person handling your affairs and you get a questionable email, phone call, or text message, simply give all the information to the person that handles your stuff and be done with it.

Ammo Scam Warning

Ammo Scams
Ammo Scams

For us, gun owners, be specifically aware of ammo scams for ourselves and our loved ones. Over the last couple of years, with extreme regularity in 2021, gun owners have been subjected to several ammo scams where fake sellers offer up a deal of the century, take someone’s money, and then they don’t deliver on the goods. This situation was reported on previously here at AmmoLand News last April. Fellow AmmoLand News writer and colleague Lee Williams wrote about one scenario on his substack also last April. In his piece he engaged with an alleged scammer via text message and called them out on their shenanigans. On this topic, be hyper-vigilant of who you’re buying from and the particulars surrounding their e-commerce site/ways. The following advice was offered up in the AmmoLand News article on the subject:

  1. If it’s too good of a deal, it is.
  2. Don’t take the convo to another platform. [Conduct business through chat apps]
  3. Be leary of messaging app purchases with third-party payments.
  4. Check for website security indicators.[Should have an SSL certificate]
  5. Look for confusing sentences or misspellings.
  6. Check the business address.
  7. When in doubt, don’t buy.
  8. Simply put: Buy from trusted sources.

In the twenty-first century, we all have a lot of challenges that we need to overcome. Technology and advancements in our communications tools have liberated us in many ways and brought ease to our lives. The trade-off is having to deal with new and innovative ways to get ripped off. If you arm yourself with not just guns but the knowledge that there are scammers out there, and what they may look/sound like, you’ll better be able to safeguard your identity and finances.


John Petrolino is a US Merchant Marine Officer, writer, author of Decoding Firearms: An Easy to Read Guide on General Gun Safety & Use and NRA certified pistol, rifle, and shotgun instructor living under and working to change New Jersey’s draconian and unconstitutional gun laws. You can find him on the web at www.johnpetrolino.com on twitter at @johnpetrolino and on instagram @jpetrolinoiii .

John Petrolino
John Petrolino
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JH1961

There are several ‘firearms-related’ online businesses that have developed reputations as being ‘untrustworthy’. It would be nice to have a listing of such businesses. There is one, in particular, in Texas (surprisingly, not CTD), whose owner is constantly in court for scamming folks, yet he continues to operate.

Last edited 13 days ago by JH1961
ralph

85 a month ago, I respond to all obvious scammers (extended auto warranties, Medicare paid equipment, IRS demands (they never call) etc, with a resounding “F–k you!, and hang up.

3l120

If the seller will only take Zelle or PP F&F, it’s a fraud. No address available, it’s a fraud. Gotta be a way to go after the crooks!

PMinFl

There is quite a lot of information about us all on the internet already. Recently an old friends name cropped up in a conversation, I hadn’t heard from him in years so knowing we both have reached retirement age I searched his name. I was surprised at how much was readily available. I then searched my own name and found my address, DOB. phone numbers (both home and cell) home sq footage and value,voting records and as they say, much more. I admit I was dumbfounded at the ammount of data available to anyone with a computer. I guess that… Read more »

Last edited 15 days ago by PMinFl
BillK-STL

This isn’t limited to ammunition! I nearly fell for a scam where a website, very credibly looking like the Henry Repeating Arms Company, was selling rifles at a significant discount – if the rifle was purchased with bitcoin. When I returned later to the *actual* Henry website, there was a big black banner indicating that there are a lot of scammers out there doing this and that Henry doesn’t sell directly to consumers!
Be aware (if it’s too good to be true…) and stay safe!

swmft

I heard of that ,they had a page they had put in at gunbroker someone flagged it and it was removed and a warning posted

Wild Bill

Interesting article JP!

musicman44mag

Hi, you’ve reached MM44mag. Please leave your name, number and reason for your call. I will return your call within minutes. Those not leaving names and numbers will be blocked immediately.
Thank you and have a nice day.

It’s worked for me.

Rock

Great Idea !!!!

swmft

I get a lot of this bs, last name and travels and all the places i worked and lived but the worst is the warrantee bc(bull crap) and medicare calls

musicman44mag

Ya, I know what you mean. My new car warranty has been about to expire in the next couple of months for about 2 years now. The only problem is, my newest vehicle is a 2004, lol. The one I am sick and tired of is my Norton or McAfee is expired and my computer is at risk and I need to click on this link right away. There is another one I keep getting and that my last Amazon purchase has a problem and they are not going to be able to send me the package unless I click… Read more »