GunsAmerica Endorses USPS As Exclusive Form of Non-Credit Card Payment

Don’t Be a Victim!

Even with a great interstate police force called the United States Postal Service Inspectors, you really don’t want to find yourself in a position where you are ready to send a payment to a seller you don’t trust. Here are some tips to spot fraudulent sellers. If they are consistent in one thing, it is that scammers may always have a new angle, but they are STUPID. You are smarter than them, so don’t get ripped off.

  • If it is Too Good to be True, ITS NOT TRUE. – Everyone knows what guns are worth. We have price books even. If you see a gun for sale at hundreds of dollars under its value, there is a 95%++ chance that it is a scammer trying to get you to contact them. Also, never agree to do anything even questionably illegal. With that you have a 100% chance that it is a scammer trying to get you to send them money without the ability to report it when they rip you off.
  • New Sellers – No offense to new sellers here or anywhere else online, but the facts are that our fraud prevention system catches fraudulent accounts, usually very quickly. If you see a new seller with no transactions, get their payment address and contact information from them before you agree to anything. If you use Google Maps you can often get a street view and ask them what color their house is, how many neighbors they have, etc., to see if this looks like a regular person selling their own guns. THE MOST COMMON type of scam these days are “mail forwarding” services that involve these mailbox pack and ship places. If you Google Map someone’s address and it comes up as a shopping center or anything besides a residential house the seller can identify, steer clear.
  • No Knowledge of Product – When we send out a security warning on a suspected fraudulent account we get back probably 5 responses saying that they didn’t send money for every one that did. These 5 people often say “he didn’t know anything about the gun” or “he didn’t answer my questions” and even “he hung up on me when I asked the serial number of the gun.” Ask questions that only the owner of the firearm could answer and you’ll weed out the marjority of fraudsters out there.
  • Pop Me a Cellphone Picture – Most of us have been walking around with camera phones for more than 5 years now. If the person is a new seller, or your suspect something, there is nothing wrong with asking them to pop a quick cellphone picture of the gun that they can text or email to your phone or computer. It is a leap of faith to send a seller money with no guarantee of them sending you what you paid for. A quick picture to verify that they own the item is not a lot to ask.

(PLEASE NOTE: This is an archive post from an era long gone. The USPS Inspectors are no longer interested in pursuing this type of online fraud and a USPS money order is your worst form of protection right now. Call the person and speak to them, and get comfortable with their product knowledge. Then send a personal check. It is your best protection right now. There is very little fraud on GunsAmerica because we police all new listings. But be careful, and remember, if it is too good to be true, it’s NOT TRUE.)

GunsAmerica is instituting a new policy effective immediately that all payments to GunsAmerica sellers must be made either with a credit card, to a gun dealer, or you must use a United States Postal Service Money Order, or Orders, mailed via USPS, to the seller. It does not matter if this is an old seller or a new seller, someone whose account you have seen here for years or not. Always use USPS Money Orders mailed via USPS.

Find a USPS Inspector Office Near You! (new window)
File a Mail Fraud Complaint Online

Internet scammers fear the United States Postal Service Inspectors. They will specifically ask you to Fedex or UPS the bank issued cashier’s check to them. This method of payment is unsafe and can cost you the hard earned money you thought you were sending to a legitimate seller. Likewise any sort of bank transfer or Western Union. It is all trouble. The only law enforcement body who will stand up for you across the entire United States are the United States Postal Service Inspectors. If you use USPS money orders and mail them USPS, you generate what they call a “nexus” and if, G-d forbid, you are scammed online, they will respond to your complaint.

Credit cards are the safest way to pay for internet purchases, but only gun dealers are allowed to have a merchant account that can take payments for guns online. With a credit card, you are only liable for the first $50 in the case of fraud. It is a free insurance policy. If a non-gun dealer offers to take a payment for an online gun sale, you are still protected, but they can get in trouble with the bank and your payment can be held up. GunsAmerica dealers who use our Live Payments merchant accounts are all approved for guns online.

Paypal is not an option. Please do not attempt to use it to pay for or to get paid for GunsAmerica sales. Paypal is violently anti-gun and has suspended and frozen thousands of legitimate gun seller accounts over the years. If Paypal catches you taking or making a payment for a gun, your account will be shut off immediately and both parties’ accounts will be frozen for at least 60 days. Any money in those accounts will be unavailable for that time, and sometimes you have to jump through several hoops to get your money out at all.

That leaves the option of mailing your payment to the seller, and this is by far where the majority of online fraud occurs. Unfortunately, law enforcement across state lines is a hole in our justice system. The FBI is supposed to handle it, but they have been focused on Homeland Security since 911. To get FBI involved generally takes over $100,000 in losses. You might think BATFE would be interested in fraud cases involving guns, but in the fraud we are talking about, there are no guns and there never were any guns. The pictures in the ads were stolen from the internet. BATFE has little if any jurisdiction.

At the state and local level, in some places there is a huge support network of law enforcement for internet fraud. Some states and cities even have internet, or cyber, task forces. But in the wake of budget cuts, many of these are falling away. And in much of the country, this type of law enforcement doesn’t exist whatsoever. If you call the PD where you sent your money, they will simply tell you to file a complaint with your local PD and that will be the last you hear of it.

In our experience at GunsAmerica, there is only one body of law enforcement reliably watching the internet crime ship, and that is the United States Postal Service. Postal Inspectors have been extremely responsive to our calls and emails, and they have ended at least three fraud rings where the scammers were focusing on not just GunsAmerica, but also the other gun buying and selling websites.

The Federal Trade Commission reports that only 8.2% of fraud victims even report the crime, yet they still tracked over $1.7 billion dollars in consumer fraud complaints in 2010 alone. In our experience at GunsAmerica, much of this fraud originates from outside the country. Advertisements in local Pennysavers, and signs on the side of the road advertising “Work From Home” are often the work of a scammer from Algeria, Nigeria, and even some European countries. Those who answer these advertisements often find themselves in the middle of an international fraud ring where it is they who are receiving payments for goods that never existed, from sellers who never had anything to sell. They are either complicit or innocent in cashing these checks, then wiring the majority of the money to a foreign national.

In these cases, fraud is almost impossible for us to track. The money may end up in a bank account in the Cayman Islands, but the payment itself is being sent to an American at a US address, made out to their name, and this person is a normal person listed in the phonebook. The scammer-seller you speak to on the phone or on email isn’t this American, and this individual you send the actual check to generally has no idea what is going on in most cases. They have been sold a story, about collecting for an international charity, or something else that they probably only half believe themselves, and they certainly don’t know about and have often never even heard of GunsAmerica. But once they cash your check, it doesn’t matter how complicit or innocent they were, or if they may eventually even be prosecuted for part of the crime. That money is gone forever.

There are also websites these days devoted solely to selling stolen credit card numbers. We require a valid credit card number to post an ad on GunsAmerica, but once that $1.00 authorization has gone through (we don’t keep the dollar unlike some other websites), we have no way to know if that card was cancelled as stolen. This seller can then post false advertisements for sale, and without missing a beat send you a different physical payment address than the one listed on his account. This fake address is often an abandoned house, that again, can be seen on Google Maps and is listed in the phone book, but you have no idea that this is an abandoned house, and that he is going to use fake identification, even stolen identification , to cash that check and take off with your hard earned money.

Internet fraud is an ever changing picture. As soon as we at GunsAmerica feel like we have dialed in how to catch a certain type of scammer, a new type of scammer pops up and the old one disappears. The GunsAmerica fraud system is among the most sophisticated in the online world, and we rarely have an actual victim due in part to our diligent regulars here who report suspicious listings. But no matter what the scammers come up with next, rest assured that the United States Postal Service will be on the job as your own personal interstate police force fighting internet crime on your behalf. Please do not deviate from our suggestion. Use only USPS Money Orders, mailed via USPS, if you cannot use a credit card for your GunsAmerica purchase.

{ 156 comments… add one }
  • R DiGiovanni April 8, 2018, 2:14 pm

    My solution is to only buy from an FFL, and not to any private sellers unless they are local.

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  • Ken Walker July 8, 2014, 10:21 am

    I have bought guns from out of state and the only way I would do so is for the seller to take said firearm to a licensed dealer to inspect and run serial number if it passes these test I will pay the dealer directly and have them ship to my dealer. If this is too much hassle for the seller no sale. The amount of money spent on some guns is way more than I can afford to be swindled out of.

  • Jim Briggs March 13, 2014, 1:28 pm

    Thanks very much for this article on payments for GunsAmerica transactions. I am an experienced buyer/seller on eBay, but this is my first time as a seller on GA and was startled by your “Don’t use PayPal” message. The clarity with which you made your points was very helpful. I am now a fan of USPS money orders and will understand – and will not be offended – when a buyer may question my credibility.

  • RDWolff December 10, 2013, 8:20 pm

    I was surprised to read about Paypal and their being anti gun since I’ve been an ebay seller for the last 14 years and Paypal is the gold standard for all transactions there, actually since Ebay owns Paypal they forbid advertising checks, OR money orders in the auction pages due to the fraud with those and fake/forged checks and money orders.
    Paypal has at least some guarantees these days and when one uses a credit card to fund their purchase through Paypal that adds another layer of protection- your credit card’s fraud division and the fact that for the most part with a timely report of a loss/fraud you aren’t responsible for any loss.
    Yes I’m well aware of the supposed “horror stories” people post about Paypal especially in their earlier days- usually posted on rival and competitor’s sites, but with 14 years of using it for hundreds of transactions, I’ve never had one problem of any kind, I just never leave any money in the acct and always take it out immediately.
    The first place I looked to sell my revolver was Ebay but there were none up there at all for sale, so I figured they were a verboten item to sell up there.

  • Diann Buckland May 27, 2013, 8:32 am

    It is rare to find somone who really knows their stuff. Good job.

  • David Tester May 2, 2013, 11:57 am

    I sold a gun thru your website to a man in CT. who received it and now will not send me payment for it. I sent it Priority mail and have proof he received it; Brennen’s Gus handle the transaction.. I understand he’s transferred it to his girlfriend. Now, what do i do? Any serious suggestions? Thanks, David

    • Administrator May 2, 2013, 12:30 pm

      You should have gotten payment before sending it. That was really dumb. Call the local police there.

  • Darin Anderson April 27, 2013, 1:07 am

    if I won a bid … id#902393546 how do I go about paying for it ?

    • Administrator April 27, 2013, 8:46 pm

      Just contact the seller.

  • Roy edward sprayberry March 29, 2013, 4:20 am

    I like to buy and use ( usps ) don’t sell much but not now. USPS is great for me you guy have any tips for me I wood welcome them any help thanks

  • Terry March 12, 2013, 12:31 pm

    After what the credit cards etc., bilk from us I’ve never trusted, don’t need and want the credit cards, forcing us
    to have to rely on them, for hotels, air etc., the interest rate, penalities, so how maney paid back their debt?

    Totally criminal, shut pay-pal down for good and collect our interest and penalties from the rest of the deadbeats!

  • Ben Mil March 4, 2013, 8:32 pm

    I have been ripped off in Feb 2013 on GA by a GA seller. I followed the GA suggested precautions before paying and sending the USPS money orders for $1800 by USPS Express Mail. It appears that two men are working together to defraud me. I paid & the seller never sent the gun. I contacted GA by email inquiring about this seller BEFORE paying & sending the $, but GA to this date hasn’t answered ANY OF MY EMAILS! The Postmaster in Augusta, GA has forwarded my case to the Chicago USPS Inspectors Office for investigation, but I was told due to the “fiscal cliff” not to expect any results in the near future. That was two weeks ago and I have yet to hear from an investigator. I have massive amounts of emails between the seller & me documenting the conspiracy to commit fraud by the seller and USPS has those emails now.

    Does GA have any suggestions? The thieves live in Chicago city limits.


    • Administrator March 5, 2013, 9:16 pm

      Follow up with Chicago USPS. They are a private company and not part of the budget things going on right now. If you had followed our suggestions you wouldn’t have had this problem. If you have proof that the gun exists go to BATFE as well.

  • John Vicars February 28, 2013, 9:24 am

    Also I am trying to get ammo, not a gun.

    • Bill in Lexington March 20, 2013, 8:24 pm

      Ammo does not require a FFL (yet). Go ahead and order as much as you want before Feinstein realizes that you are still doing so … it’s her position that anyone who has served in the military is crazy and should not be allowed anything that goes ‘bang’. Sportsman’s Guide has water tight, light tight 58 gallon barrels for $58 bucks.

  • John Vicars February 28, 2013, 9:22 am

    When I put in my zip code the nearest office was in Ft. Worth which is over 6 hours away. How in the hell as a disabled vet am I supposed to drive 6 hours with a back injury (from an IED strike in Iraq in 2005)?

    • Bill in Lexington March 20, 2013, 8:21 pm

      WHAT nearest office? Any post office can issue the money orders and verify whether one you receive is valid. Most can cash them, too. If not, you can deposit them to your bank and give the POMO a few days to clear. However you do your banking now, you can use the same means to deal with a postal money order.

  • Harrison Yoss February 23, 2013, 11:09 am

    I was scammed by a criminal and his wife in N Carolina but paid for by USPS check and via USPS delivery. The postal invesigator was right on it a day after I reported it. He amassed his investigation. The fraudster was pretty stupid (as was I) having his wife sign for the check and her address and facebook account being very well documented. However as with any government agency I am still at the whim of the federal prosecutor pushing the case. It has been several weeks since the invesigator submitted submitted his report to the federal prosecutor for the district. We will see. Keeping my fingers crossed. Be especially careful whem purchasing a weapon from Armslist. It is a haven for scammers and the administrators dont care a lick

  • MightyLordRay February 21, 2013, 3:52 pm

    I have never seen so many ungrateful, insulting, and tasteless people in one blog. I thank the Administrator for their insight and attempts made for the safety of the members of Though the administrator has proven himself rough around the edges, I can trust someone who relays their exact perception more than someone that sugar coats everything. Get real already! Last time I saw was a place where someone can come and go as they please. They have the right to have whatever administrator, and run their website however they want. Whether or not they want to buttercup their blogs for sensitive people to keep their business is their choice. Thank you for your time.

    • Administrator February 21, 2013, 3:54 pm

      Well we don’t let everything through Ray. Some people are just assholes for the sake of being assholes.

  • Linda Flowers February 21, 2013, 2:29 pm

    Re the article above to use USPS for payment concerns. What about using Pay Pal. I have found it to be very reliable. They allow me to have several pay options through a credit card, my home bank, or their own “Bill Me Later,” which offers 6 months free financing for orders over $100. They have other services as well, and I hope you will consider adding same to your site as a safe, reliable payment option.

    • Administrator February 21, 2013, 2:35 pm

      Paypal specifically forbids gun transactions and will freeze your account.

  • Gunlover42 January 13, 2013, 4:45 pm

    I found your site to be very good and will continue to keep reading for new updates.

  • Gunlover42 January 13, 2013, 4:42 pm

    I just sold a gun and shipped it by Fedex over night and cost me $94.00. That is alot more than what i had counted to pay.

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  • David Ackerman December 6, 2012, 10:17 pm

    I like the last tip about requesting a picture. I think it’d also be prudent when asking for the picture that you also request that the seller put a common item next to the gun when taking the picture. e.g. “place a penny heads up next to the trigger guard”. This way you know you’re getting a legit pic and not some photo from the internet. Item could be anything. Fork/knife/spoon/toothbrush/pencil/tv remote/AA battery/$100 bill 🙂

    • Administrator December 7, 2012, 7:46 am

      That is why it says flash a peace sign. Same idea. But you probably didn’t read that far.

      • David Ackerman December 7, 2012, 9:04 am

        I see nothing about flashing a peace sign on this page.

  • Miller's Guns November 18, 2012, 11:51 am

    Sounds like guys wanting to sell their guns from home shouldn’t even bother trying to find a buyer here anymore–not that it was that great before. As far as USPS I have had a terrible experience with their them. I once bought some Indian artifacts online from across the country & discovered they were fake. He said send them back. So I sent them back fully insured with delivery confirmation & the seller claimed the box arrived empty! USPS said he (the conman) must bring the empty box into his local post office to be examined. Of course he would not do that. So USPS would not cover the insured amount of $550. I understand their concern that sender and receiver could be in cahoots but why bother insuring anything when you don’t know what the guy on the other end will do? The Postal inspector Office I called was less than helpful and refused to contact the seller at all as I see one did in another poster’s post. I wouldn’t trust USPS to enforce anything.

  • John McKinney October 17, 2012, 10:58 am

    playing phone tag games and verification games all designed to make time go by so they can take my money (steal my 100. and not send the gun)
    dont buy at E and L til I get some satisfaction….and remove these posts.bought a model 58 from an individual here , no problem and a woodmaster from E and L no problem….but when you lose my payment and you dont remember the deal nor me , from sept 4th and Im talking a week of bad sub-businesslike treatment on my calls to E and L expect a poor review.

  • John McKinney October 17, 2012, 10:55 am

    Having problem with Eand L guns…buought one arrived OK couple months back made bank card payment of $100. on sep 4th been contacting them by phone more than a week , never heard of me…faxed bank statement showing payment now they have to “verify with their bank” feel they are trying hard, as hard ads they can to rip off that 100 dollars and not send me the second gun nor any gun whatsoever…..Rt now today…I wouldnt send E and L guns any money/do any business with them.

  • richard conard October 5, 2012, 3:58 pm

    What about scammer buyers? I mean those out-of-staters who pay with a credit card, receive the gun, and then dispute the purchase for a phony reason. They possess the gun at that point, and their credit card company always backs them in the phony “dispute”, and believe me, what a hassle! Never again any credit card payments for me, so I will only accept USPS money orders. One guy even smashed the item to bits and wanted his money back…the problem was, the smashed item wasn’t even the same item i sent to him even though he assured me it was! And, an item smashed in shipping is not possible when it is nearly all steel! What an idiot. It was proven to not be the item I shipped to him. UPS denied his claim as a fraud. He was attempting to scam me and his credit card company. I won, but it took 3 months to settle it. Forget about ever doing that again. Never take credit cards and thus protect yourself!

  • benny tarver October 1, 2012, 5:04 am

    I would welocome any advice to locate a left hand ejecting lower unit. I hate when I shoot and I get plummeled with expeled rounds.
    Benny Tarver lefty

    • Bill in Lexington March 20, 2013, 8:12 pm

      Try the Liberty 100 from Calico Small Weapons Systems. It ejects downward.

  • Paul H. Stevenson September 26, 2012, 12:17 pm

    Good afternoon:

    Wanted to buy one of your advertised guns and when I clicked on your “Verified Address Page”,
    I received the following warning: “www.gunamericauses an invalid security certificate”. And then
    I group searched the FFD,Sundale Big Boys Toy Shop,thats selling it and they have no web pg listed
    wanted to call them and order the gun…

    I would still like to buy the gun,any suggestions?

    Thanks ,

  • RD July 25, 2012, 9:05 pm

    In the past I championed the USPS banner, thats taken a turn for the nurse of late. Perhaps kharma, three of the last four shipments arrived sans contents or damaged, four of five if the TV was damaged in transit. Considering I have never had a lost, missing contents, or severely damaged issue previously what are the odds. If you choose parcel post I would urge insurance, particularly small fragile items. After verifying policy on their website pertaining to small arms ammo shipping I was refused in person. Regardless the number of transactions Paypal billing errors are inexcusable as is the fact an investigation into an attempt to extort money from my accout was kept “inhouse”. Greed being the only reason the attempt was not successful, at this juncture I’ve lost no money, PayPal has corrected billing mistakes and is improving their business practices. Suffice to say neither company instills a warm, fuzzy, feeling, a sad commentary on the times we live in.

  • James Cudak July 7, 2012, 4:31 pm

    So what do i do if i want to buy a gun from guns of america on consignment???? should i use pal pal? or a postal money order?

    • Administrator July 7, 2012, 9:08 pm

      You don’t buy guys from us. You make arrangements with the seller.

  • Kyle Winther June 27, 2012, 3:28 pm

    I think the USPS should allow the shipping of guns on the internet. Is it even legal to sell guns over the internet?

    • Administrator June 27, 2012, 5:53 pm

      What do you live in a cave?

  • F-BOMB June 26, 2012, 5:04 pm

    i use pre paid debit cards for all online purchases, several years ago i used a debit card linked to my bank acct through bank of america and had my acct emptied and over drafted by almost $3000 from purchases and over draft fees. bank of america was kind enough to return the money to the acct but did not refund the overdraft fees and still claim i owe them $450+… i will never use a linked card online again. i put what is needed on the prepaid card plus $10 “just in case” and make the purchase, if someone steels the card # all they get from me is a measly 10 bucks and the pre paid cards from walmart are protected from fraud just like any other card.. well, except for ones from bank of america…

  • brien June 20, 2012, 9:36 pm

    I encountered a sale seemingly involving fraud on Auction Arms. I got stuck for $844. I can’t believe the web site is promoted by the NRA. I willl never join the NRA b/c of their affiliation w/ AA, and their sellers, connive to push out honest people who smell the rat. They seem to rig their auctons b/c a few of their sellers excluded me from bidding on their precious firearms. Then when I bought what turned out to be a defective firearm, the seller, refused to take it in return. I have never seen such seemingly collusion in sales in my 40 years of buying and selling. AA seems to support their long time sellers for the money they generate and could care less for the buyers. CAVEAT EMPTOR….The deck is stacked against the honest buyer…Just read their agreement. I was blaklistedc from bidding on some auctions after buying w/ an A+ rating . All I can say i that this was likely collusion among people on this site..Stay away BIG TIME and DON’T JOIN THE NRA AS THEY SUPPORT THIS WEBSITE. Check Angie’ list..

  • Racerxxxr June 15, 2012, 12:42 pm

    What about this idea? I want to buy a gun from a seller that is not a dealer and has not credit rating. I send him the money to cover the shipping and he sends the Gun to my FFL, When they receive it I send him the money for the Gun, When he gets the money he calls the FFL and has them release the Gun to me. It’s a bit of a hassel but then we both have a gaurantee and he now has a credit rating for this transaction.

    Any thought?

    • HOUNDDAWG June 17, 2012, 1:43 am

      Well, Racerxxxr, I can foresee one problem with your suggestion.

      If the FFL is raided by BATFE and all of his/her inventory is impounded, you’ll have no guarantee that you’ll ever see the gun you ordered and the seller has no assurance that you’ll pay for a gun that you may never see.

      And, it doesn’t seem to matter if a dealer is honest. That alone cannot insulate a dealer from heavy handed seizures or years of protracted wrangling to force the return of merchandise and personal firearms.

      Your suggestion is a remedy in search of a problem. The system proposed by the admin here is as good as it gets for buying from a remote seller. And the sellers here with solid histories and reputations to protect certainly inspire my confidence. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy from them.

      And, a seller who doesn’t know the FFL suggested by a buyer could still get hosed by two people working a shady one shot deal. I wouldn’t trust a dealer I don’t know any more than an unknown buyer who wants the gun before paying.

  • HOUNDDAWG June 11, 2012, 8:20 am

    Years ago I had a seller try to swindle me by substantially misrepresenting a product in a magazine ad. (As I recall it was, “miracle pain relief for shingles, cold sores, genital herpes, etc.,.” I paid through the mail with a postal money order, and when I attempted to contact the seller after I received the product (a tube of ChapStick® for $25) he was suddenly unavailable.

    I contacted a local postal inspector who was sympathetic, and the inspector contacted the crook and suggested that he “may be in violation”, and my money flew back to me! The seller also included a handwritten announcement (actually a fervent prayer) that the matter was now closed!

    The quality of the novice swindler’s written note led me to believe that he was a marginally gifted individual who hadn’t carefully considered his ill conceived money making plan. In short, I pictured a guy in a leaning trailer living on the back 40 of his parents’ farm.
    (I try not to think about what ailment of his own he treated with the ChapStick® remedy)

    People will try swindles because they aren’t resourceful enough to realize how exposed and “arrestable” they are. But the system can stress and burden victims and make redress difficult, sometimes for months.

    So let’s all remember the old adage, “caveat emptor”. (Let the buyer beware) This applies to those who may unsuspectingly “buy” bogus money orders with valuable firearms, too.

    The administrator here has offered pearls of solid advice. It’s unfortunate that not everyone appreciates their value and some will invariably trample them into the mud of their stys.

    And last, I suggest that if you send a cell phone picture of a gun to a prospective buyer, you could then ask him to send a phone snap (or a color photocopy) of his postal money order receipt. Wait until you receive the M.O. before you surprise the would-be buyer with your request. And if he or she cannot or will not produce an identical BLUE receipt that matches the money order, i.e. the amount, the writing, the numbers etc., then assume the M.O. is a forgery and take appropriate action.

    It is my belief that those who forge US Postal Money Orders probably do not forge the tissue paper-like buyer’s receipt that accompany legit M.O.s. (yet) And even if it’s a world class forger, how likely is it that he could match a receipt to the forged M.O. in every way if he doesn’t have the one he sent you to copy? And, if a buyer says “Uh, I threw it away” or that he lost a receipt for a substantial amount then hang onto your iron until the M.O. clears your bank (or the post office certifies it) or you may just get hosed.

  • william dewes May 22, 2012, 5:52 am

    Why haven’t I recieved my daily wish list of guns for sale since May 13th?

  • Larry Gray May 11, 2012, 7:11 am

    Several years ago I had made a purchase in Florida for a 12,500. purchase. It was a business address that had sent me photos and info of the item through the mail. (without contact by mail you may not file) The check I sent was cashed. I waited several days, and that turned into weeks. I went to my local post office with my evidence that there was “mail fraud” that had occurred. The Postmaster here contacted the postmaster in the town the fraud had occured and managed to get a hold of the person that cashed my check. They promptly told him that if I do not receive my item he may be facing a 10,000 dollar fine and 10 years in prison. Within a couple of days I was notified my item had shipped after weeks and weeks of stress 12 in fact the postal service had my item in my hands in 7 days from me filing my complaint. That is a GREAT service we pay for and I am totally happy about the results..

  • conniesue April 16, 2012, 9:45 am

    I am all for the protection of the buyer, but why do you need my credit card information if I am selling something? Furthermore, I don’t like your idea of someone doing the google earth of my house and giving out my address because quite frankly that’s like saying, “okay world I’ve got all these guns for sale this is my address now come and steal them when I’m not home”. How Stupid is that?

  • Dennis March 16, 2012, 11:11 am

    Interesting to find someone in the world that is supporting the United States Postal Service. Postal Money orders are “almost” impossible to creat illegally. Postal Inspectors rate higher than any Government service, bar none! Their record is better than the FBI, CIA and any one of hundreds of services that YOU pay for and never get service from. The Postal Service is in trouble today because of the Internet and Banks pushing for online banking…. For what a stamp cost, they want you to go out and Buy a computer, Buy a printer, Buy a Modem, have your telephone service give you access at cost to the Internet and if you are sort of smart, you will install a WI-FI systen in your house, more money of course… $0.45 opposed to several thousand dollars, that has to be replaced after loosing all your data… Of course the Postal Service is working to lower costs by trimming staff!

    RIGHT! Get rid of the worker and everything will be OK!
    Except the Managment that sits and the computer all day doing EBAY, Amazon and Solitiare, the top paying never gets cut.

    How do I know, glad you asked! I retired in July 2005 are 46 1/2 years, five years nights, 17 years window, 17 years in the back at ten jobs and three years floating, then back to the window to end things on a high note….

    P.S. I never went postal, so don’t joke about it, it was a member of the MEDIA that made up that term and it just ain’t true… Ask the Mayor of Chicago if being a Chicago Citizen is the most dangerous job on earth… NO CCW, the Mayor has a staff to protect his saggy ass.

  • Heaver March 15, 2012, 6:47 pm

    I was scammed on eBay by a sports magazine vendor who told me to wait 30 days before my first issued arrived. Little did I know that in the meantime Paypal’s customer “protection” period was counting down. When the first issue did not arrive I tried to contact the vendor on eBay only to find out he had been booted of the system, his account no longer existed. So I next turned to PayPal only to be told that the “window” for re-imbursement had passed and that I was out the money I paid the seller via PayPal. (Grrrr)

    Some months later I purchased a radar unit for my boat again using PayPal, but instead of having PayPal dock my bank account directly I used their “other funding sources” option and had PayPal charge my credit card. When it looked like the seller was not going to ship and that the PayPal customer protection window was drawing to a close, I contacted my credit card company and they immediately credited the amount I paid back into my accout. After getting automated responses from PayPal I finally had a person email me claiming that I could not do what I just did. eBay got involved too and had a real person emailing me. They even sent me a phone number to call eBay directly. I told them that it was irrelevant what they did from that point onward with the now violated transaction for I had paid and had received only automated responses from eBay & PayPal, and none from the seller, that any further correspondence should be directed at the seller. So even using PayPal there is a way of protecting yourself if you have PayPal dock your credit card vs. your bank account.

  • bluedevil March 5, 2012, 12:30 am

    I just made a purchase on GA and the payment instructions I received said to make a WesternUnion payment. Are you now saying not to Use WesternUnion but to only use a USPS Money Order? And send the payment to the seller and not to Ted Melittas?

    • Administrator March 5, 2012, 8:53 am

      That is a fraudulent scammer don’t send it.

  • David February 27, 2012, 2:31 pm

    Lookin for a marlin goose gun 3in magnum chamber magazine 2 shot its a1954 model 55 12gauge.

  • Rick February 24, 2012, 5:04 pm

    I normally just go to a Bank for a MO- never thought much about it. I can tell you this, for a fact- Don’t ever ship a gun or expensive item via Priority Mail. If that package gets lost for any reason, they won’t even start the tracking process for 31 days. You had better have all of your paperwork at hand also. After dealing with the PO during that fiasco, I can understand why they are out of money. Some lazy folks getting good paychecks.

    • Dennis March 16, 2012, 11:30 am

      Never ship a gun via Priority! Really? WHY would you ever want to do that? Funny, after 46 years in the Postal Service we have never handled anything that is a weapon EXCEPT Registered mail…. It is illegal to ship guns though the Postal Service, unless certain rules are meet.. 12.1 Firearms 12.1.1 Definitions [1-22-12] The terms used in this standard are defined as follows:

      You have to go to almost the bottom of the pdf for all instructions.
      (” “)

      “Don’t ever ship a gun or expensive item via Priority Mail.”
      That goes without saying and makes for a good idea.

      I have had a jeweler mail, Registered mail, in excess of twenty million dollars of stuff, when he wanted to go hunting in Africa years ago… I was required to call district and advise, they would send a trunk with armed guard, they always sent the meanest person in employ and if I forgot the password, they would shoot me to be safe.

  • GKJ February 22, 2012, 1:16 am

    A couple of comments from my personal experience on GA. I have purchased quite a few firearms, some new some used. The new ones I have had some problems with – such as chips in the rear site (Glock 22), pieces of stock rattleing inside a stock (Kimber Montana), and my latest purchase, a S&W M&P, that jams every other round which I just sent back to S&W. Just a couple of examples. It makes me wonder if sellers are trying to offload guns that they could not sell if someone were to handle in person. The used ones I have found that a picture is not worh a thousand words. I purchased a Weatherby Mark V and the safety was bad. I bought the gun almost 4 years ago and I just received back from the gunsmith after a long battle with Weatherby over the replacement of the safety. In another case, the seller claimed that a Winchester Model 100 was the cleanest rifle he had seen. The pictures all looked good. When I received it, there was a chunk out of the stock and the gun was in such bad shape that I seriously would not even take up the space in my safe to store it. When I called, the seller accused my FFL dealer of switching the stock, and went so far as to call the local police who visited my FFL dealer and kept calling over and over and all but destroyed my relationship with the dealer. I have several other examples. There are hugh disparities in what I perceive as “mint” condition and what sellers advertise as “mint” condition. My advise here is to call the seller and ask questions. Pictures just do not show the dings, the scratches, the bluing blemishes and other defects, especially on older guns. If the seller does not want to spend the time or is vague – don’t buy it – you WILL be sorry. It is a royal pain to send it back, which I have never done except for the Model 100 mentioned above. I have been just very disappointed in the condition, versus my expectations of guns advertised as “mint” or 99 % or even 95 %. As for the mechanical defects mentioned above, (the M&P and the Weatherby), nothing can be done about that as in both cases I had the firearms for a few weeks. The gunsmith let me know about the Weatherby safety when he was shortening the barrel. The M&P did not start to jam until a few boxes of ammo went through it. My preferred method of payment is a credit card event though many sellers charge a 3 % premium for that privaledge, it gives me leverage. Otherwise I use USPS and yes it is is a pain, but come on guys are you buying a gun every week ? Besides that it gives you time to think about it. How bad do you really want it ? ;)~~ My only advice is to be very careful and ask as many questions as you need to in order to be comfortable and do not trust anything or anybody. Nothing is as it seems Gunnie !!!

    • RD July 25, 2012, 9:32 pm

      Was the model 100 chambered .284 Win by any chance?

  • Rio Coker February 21, 2012, 9:27 pm

    This is good post.
    Thanks for sharing.
    It’s useful.

  • carl walker February 3, 2012, 10:12 am

    A coupla’ more things.
    I like the Google map address inspection. Check out the place and call the seller. Ask questions–ask ’em about the guns they are selling. Ask them about their other guns–ask them where they shoot–ask them why they are selling it. Heck, ask about how they acquired their other guns. Scammers don’t have a very deep story to tell.
    Sending cell phone pics of the gun is a good idea too!
    If it doesn’t seem right, bail!

    Oh, and take it easy on the first-time sellers. Like me, maybe they only have one gun to sell!
    Maybe they just found this site. . . .

    • Bill in Lexington March 20, 2013, 7:56 pm

      Agreed … every seller is a first time seller when they start. Exercise due diligence — if they are upright, they’ll pass in good style — but don’t turn away from a good deal on something you want and can afford just because it’s the first time they’ve sold anything here.

  • carl walker February 3, 2012, 9:54 am

    Personally I would mail via Registered Mail, Restricted delivery, Return receipt requested.

    You letter/package is under the best security possible, only the person named can sign for it and they have to show valid ID and the return receipt will have to be signed by them and then mailed to you as well.

    Try to hide after all that.
    Not to mention that not a lot of registered mail go to private parties (Certified is more common) so their mailman/woman/person may remember delivering it to them.

    Just my $0.02

  • dave January 31, 2012, 5:49 am

    i have a direct question for the administrator. Do you work directly for GA? Or are you merely a vehement believer in the bureaucracy which is responsible for bankrupting the postal service and the liberal left wing nuts who want a bigger more expensive government that is even more troubled? If you analyze the postal service vs. other shippers and other forms of payment you will find that the usps is broke and is subsidized by the federal government. If you do in fact represent GA shame on you for you lack of “bedside manner” and most of all you are mean spirited and narrow minded. i suggest a new moderator/administrator as the present admin is no better than a self righteous customer with a holier than though attitude. just my opinion.


  • Greg January 18, 2012, 10:54 am

    I have read with great interest the above articles. Still digesting all of the comments. In talking with law enforcement officials from local,state and US levels they expressed a very high regard for the USPS Inspectors.
    My own experience (individual non FFL ) in receiving a USPS MO’s have been very time consuming when trying to cash them. I have been told by USPS clerks and bank tellers that there has been a lot of fraudulent MO’s. now. GEEZ! And as a writer above stated when trying to cash say at a USPS location, they might not have enough funds tot do so.
    So. A question I have is what is wrong with a personal bank check? They are suppose to clear in three days. Have the understanding with seller or buyer that there will be a 5 or 7 day wait for it to clear. No middle fees, no check fees,name and address on check match return address on envelope.
    And as Michael said above, “do your homework”. Dec 2011 .
    I Google the name and address PLUS their email address.
    I ‘m quite fortunate to have been never scammed ;although attempts have been made, mainly due to my own I feel diligence.
    I feel brick and mortar stores will gain sales in the future due to online security breaches. I feel very uncomfortable creating or having a C’Cd on file with anyone unless they take whole responsibility for it’s security. Regardless !
    Sorry I might be blogging here.
    But online firearm sales such as GA has been wonderful for me. I abide by their rules.


  • Michael December 29, 2011, 11:37 am

    Hope I’m not setting anyone off by bringing this back up, but GA’s making a suggestion and not issuing a mandate: “Please do not deviate from our suggestion. Use only USPS Money Orders, mailed via USPS, if you cannot use a credit card for your GunsAmerica purchase.”

    Makes perfect sense to use the USPS MO for transactions. I’ve used a couple different methods, like bank checks, CC’s, and the hot-issue USPSMO’s. Fortunately, I’ve only been ripped-off once online through PP trying to buy a watch from a ‘company’ in Germany. Seems the BG’s were a couple who have scammed the world buyers with their nifty new tritium watch for a couple years. I made the mistake of not doing my homework and researching these watches or these bastardo’s. Afterwards, I did some reading then saw that it was a rip (duhh). The BG’s were good; even had me ‘wait’ for the watch to be made for me to ensure the PP limited-time protection and CC timeframe expired. I’m an Idiot for believing that, looking back. Golly, I do so still pine for that gorgeous watch . . . anyway. . .

    My bad. My loss.

    Back to the point of using GA as a hub for transactions. I’ve been a member for years and have only ++ things to say about the way they do business, back their members, and do what they can to help buyers/sellers/and themselves thrive in this online mall. I’ve also used other sites GB, AA, etc. but just don’t get the service GA provides e.g. correspondence, photos, follow-up, information, and solid ‘suggestions’ like the USPSMO advice above. Mostly, GA’s staff present themselves more so like partners, or fellow enthusiasts, rather then just vendors.

    Suggestion to prevent getting scammed:

    1. Do your homework.
    2. Make voice contact. Often internet scammers don’t want to be face-to-face with their victims even through talking.
    3. Find the address you’re mailing the MO to on google earth. Once stopped a transaction I almost fell for when I saw the address as a closed-down dance studio. Called the guy on it and he really didn’t have an answer. No sale there!
    4. Do your research. If the seller has any history, it’ll be online from the other victims. Pissed buyers have a lot to say it seems.
    5. Use GA as they have a great reputation to protect and the last thing any business wants is to have is a patron reporting ‘mice in the kitchen.’
    6. Use credit cards as the banks are a great shield if you do get ripped. Some won’t even make you cover the first $50.
    7. Be leery of those with the sunglasses who haven’t sold anything on GA. Sorry, first timers, but it does matter. I was a first-timer too and found someone who trusted me by doing his homework on me.

    After reading some of the ridiculous comments trashing GA, it simply harmonious to add my positive encounters with both the buyers and sellers here on this site. GA rocks and although I’m rather high-cautious (in a state of yellow when asleep) I trust them to stay vibrant in this volatile, politically-charged, marketplace and I’m thankful for their diligence.


  • Jim Rizzio December 27, 2011, 1:12 pm

    I fell victim to a GA fraud listing about 2 years ago. While GA was very fast in suspending the account (within hours). It was to no avail, paying with a USPS Money Order. The postal inspector up to and including the national level were of no help.
    Everything i did after the fact including the google map are spot on! it infact was an empty lot.
    Thanks for the great information GA.


  • c. silverstein December 23, 2011, 12:45 pm

    crime does pay!! the complete failure of our Legal system is the reason. i will be branded as a kook, nut, etc. for saying this, but the only Real solution is to do away with the criminals. catch them, execute them quickly, and all the sh-t will stop!
    this isn’t lunacy, it’s hard reality. i’ve known criminals and talked to them. they don’t think like you and me.
    of course, this won’t ever be done; so beware!

  • William Lumma December 22, 2011, 9:58 pm

    I am an FFL and I refuse to pay for guns by USPS MO’s. A certified check on my bank account mailed by USPS is the method of payment I use to link inventory purchases to my tax record. Only rednecks , hillbillies and derelicts without bank accounts use money orders. Scammers use MO’s as the least documentable sources of income that they can hide for tax purposes. You are aiding and abetting this practice with this asenine policy and I will call the IRS’ attention to it1 I will not buy guns from sellers who don’t go through an FFL and who require only MO’s.

    • Administrator December 23, 2011, 9:28 am

      Then you won’t be able to purchase from many of our sellers. You are mistaken and you are a fool.

    • Dennis March 16, 2012, 12:06 pm

      Excuse me? USPS MO’s require CASH only, cannot be bought though bogus checks, credit cards or your old underwear… We did not even take “certified checks!” YOUR bank account is no different than what the scammer uses and then discards AFTER they got your money….

      Goldman & Sacks was an asenine policy and NOBODY call the IRS!

      Make sure you only play checkers with five year olds…safer

  • Toby December 19, 2011, 1:54 pm

    I saw a USPS money order last week that looked genuine in every way. It passed all of the visual tests to authenicate it. Mailed form Florida to Oklahoma, it was a fraud. Your bank or the postal service are the only ones to trust when you absolutely need a postal money order verified.

    • Administrator December 19, 2011, 6:46 pm

      That’s the thing that people who criticize USPS money orders don’t understand. You can counterfeit anything. But with these you can walk right into a post office and ask.

  • Marietta Davis December 18, 2011, 1:34 am

    buy some guns

  • Lucien Payne December 15, 2011, 6:48 pm

    How about commenting on this situation from the legitimate sellers (me) point of view. Some customers send me some strange looking certified/cashiers checks from “tree stump savings and loan” or money orders from “Mahmoods Mini Mart” instead of a postal money order. They get upset when I don’t ship the expensive firearm the next day! My bank holds stuff like that for 3-4 days.

    • Administrator December 15, 2011, 8:28 pm

      The seller is of course in control and who has faith put in him. Most sellers wait for it to clear.

  • Arnold Harris December 14, 2011, 10:17 pm

    Thanks very much for the information about PayPal. I’m a gun owner, but I’m not an FFL. Using an instate FFL friend as shipping agent, I’m shipping one of my son’s six long-barrel firearms to him in the US state to which he has relocated for a new job. I had thought of using PayPal to reimburse the shipper.

    PayPal bought out the former Verisign merchant account service I have been using for many years, for my web-based data processing business service. If they cannot or will not allow PayPal to be used for payment of legal interstate or intrastate firearms sales to law-abiding American citizens, then I am not interested in doing business through them at all. I will investigate their policy further, and bring it to the attention of the National Rifle Association, which I serve locally in an activist citizen capacity.

    I’m proud to say that here in Wisconsin, we have been taking back our citizen rights under the Constitution of the United States, and this revolution shall continue.

    Arnold Harris
    Mount Horeb WI
    NRA-ILA election volunteer coordinator, Wisconsin 2nd Congressional District

  • Rick Kime December 5, 2011, 12:01 pm

    Interesting to say the least. I have been looking at a few guns on GA but now am shying away. Not sure what to do. This took the wind out of my sails!

    • Administrator December 5, 2011, 1:06 pm

      You just have to be careful and follow the advice we gave you. We generally have no victims here because we are on top of stuff, but you have to be careful.

  • Jeffery Bailey December 3, 2011, 11:28 am

    I am a Safety Director for a corporation and I only use USPS, United States Postal Service Money Orders to buy on line items.
    Ebay owns PayPal they are one and the same and they compete with the USPS for your business.
    Only problem is PayPal is a private company and they have no legal enforcement authority like a US Postal Inspector.
    You get defraud by someone or a company your remedy is sue someone in court at your own expense.
    You defraud the Post Office a government entity and you go to jail.
    I like the protection of the US Postal Inspectors.
    I travel oversees frequently and I can tell you for a fact that third world countries like Nigeria and Algeria and some of the freed mid European former soviet block nations barely have the resources to run their administrations.
    They do not have the money or people to police business internet transactions as completely as it should be done to prevent fraud.
    Deal domestically (US and Canada) and use USPS money orders if you don’t use a credit card.
    Support the NRA too.

  • Don Schimpff November 30, 2011, 2:12 pm

    I have used USPS money orders for years. They “are as good as Gold” BUT they can be faked, so before you ship the gun, go to the Post Office and have them inspect it and very often they can cash it for you. They have a money order scanner and know what to look for on the face and back of the USPS Money order. If a prospective buyer balks at sending a MO, then email him a copy of Guns America’s blog on payment methods.
    By doing so, both you and the buyer will be pleased with the transaction. And that is how it Should Be.
    Don Schimpff

  • David Kim November 22, 2011, 9:46 am

    Lowell, Massachusetts United States

  • Kirk Snyder November 5, 2011, 12:56 pm

    Gunsamerica is a great site for transactions involving businesses. Licensed dealers have a business location that can be easily checked in many ways. Buying from private parties is like playing the lottery. I’d rather pay the extra up front and buy from a legitimate dealer.

  • Eual Robbins Jr ( Lucky ) October 24, 2011, 8:23 pm

    This has been a fun read. Very informative and entertaining. Keep it up, I like it.

    I’ll be back. :>) Lucky

  • Iron Ron October 20, 2011, 1:14 am

    If the idiots at USPS realized that allowing non-licensees to ship handguns, just like non-licensees can ship long guns, might be part of a financial recovery for the postal service. I don’t know what the difference is between shipping a handgun or a rifle, but this stupid law was made in 1968, and needs to be changed. Especially after the crooks at UPS and FedEx realized this back in the 90’s and jacked up prices. If the Postal Service goes under, grab your ankles guys, Fedex and UPS are waiting with a stiffy for you. How would you like to ship long guns next day air?

  • Gary October 18, 2011, 7:17 pm

    It’s a little hard to verify who he is when I go to contact seller in your website does not accept my E mail address and says it is not valid. You’re not having any trouble with it and I would appreciate it if you would look into it and try to rectify the situation.
    Thank you

  • Gary October 18, 2011, 2:16 pm

    I just signed up with GA and was about to buy a $700 handgun. After reading all your warnings and all of that blog I’m not willing to take a chance with my money. Please advise me if I can pay a gun dealer here and the individual at the other end can pay dealer there. I’ve spent over six hours between trying to find the gun registering with you and reading all the blog. I feel bad for the guy and the other end because he has no history. It is probably a nice guy that’s fallen on hard times and needs to get rid of one of his guns to feed his kids. But with no FFL and no history I will just have to find another one from someone with a history. There was only one on your whole website that was a dealer and he sold darn thing yesterday.

    • Administrator October 18, 2011, 6:57 pm

      Just find another one unless you can verify him and the gun in the methods we suggest.

  • Chemiker October 18, 2011, 12:29 pm

    The requirement that payments must be made by postal money order is rediculous. It is very inconvenient to drive to the Post Office, wait in line, deal with obnoxious clerks, pay and drive back to work. I can send certified funds from my bank by accessing my bank account directly via the web. The check arrives at the seller rapidly and is CERTIFIED. Note that USPS money orders are commonly forged. Is the USPS paying for you to impose this?

    • Administrator October 18, 2011, 6:59 pm

      No, but you are of course willing to roll the dice and try your luck. This is to protect you, and you are the one who would be buying it (forged??). Soooooo…

      • Jeffery Bailey December 3, 2011, 11:37 am

        Chemiker.You sending CERTIFIED funds rapidly doesn’t protect you from a scammer fraud, they can take off with your money. YOU have no idea if the seller is legit. I’d rather be inconvenienced by going to the Post Office than get scammed out of my bank wired money that ends up in a third world account you won’t ever collect from.

  • Micko77 October 12, 2011, 6:19 pm

    The sad irony is that while USPS MO is the way to pay, they want no part of shipping the product; all this while they are drowning in debt. Ben Franklin would be aghast.

    • joe jennings October 12, 2011, 9:09 pm

      I agree 100% on USPS not wanting to ship guns or related items. If they would allow shipment of such items they would put a hurting to FEDEX and UPS.

      • Mac October 14, 2011, 3:38 pm

        FYI. I had a bad time with the USPS for some time. I tried a different PO, went in the first time with a print out of the regulations and found that they can be taught. Now every tim I go in the clerks are up to speed and there is no problem at all. I live in S. CA, in a major city. It can be done. It is interesting that the USPS is at the SHOT Show drumming up business. Of course so is DHL and they will not ship guns.

      • Administrator October 16, 2011, 4:47 pm

        I don’t know where either of you got this idea, but USPS does not have a no firearms policy whatsoever. For pistols you have to be an FFL dealer to ship them, but anyone can ship long guns. The only reason they don’t do powder, primers, and ammo is that they don’t have a special classification system like UPS/FEDEX.

        • Mac October 17, 2011, 4:00 pm

          To ship via USPS per their regs you must be an FFL and you must submit USPS form 1508 with each shipment. There are some conditions that a non FFL can ship long guns but as all firearms are banned from the property you better be very sure you know the mental disposition of the local USPS employees. I have been denied service in more that one post office. It has become very clear in my area at least that the fault is in a total lack of training. That has been resolved at one post office in my area and I now use it excursively.

  • Frank October 12, 2011, 5:12 pm

    I long ago stopped dealing with paranoid “USPS Money Order only” sellers. Why should I trust someone with my money when they will not accept a legitimate bank check? In any transaction, trust is a two-way street, that is why we have seller/buyer feedback. In addition, USPS Money Orders cost money and most sellers take credit cards only with a surcharge.
    Good-bye GunsAmerica.

    • Administrator October 12, 2011, 5:15 pm


      • Mac October 14, 2011, 3:31 pm

        I have insisted on USPS money orders fro several years now, for my own reasons. What I do not understand is how GA thinks it can dictate to its thousands of customers in this manor. It is my business and my decision.
        I continue to be amazed at the callous, self righteous attitude of this moderator. Makes you wonder if he is one of the owners and if not, do the owners have a clue how he is representing the company?

      • KenJ October 15, 2011, 3:43 am

        I have to agree after reading your blogs for the last week you seem to have an attitude. Why not chill out and make this a nicer place? I have seen this attitude a number of times and it seems to stem from a root cause, and that is if a person doesn’t have as much knowledge as you (In the plural sense)then they’re dummies. I only got into handguns about 5 years ago and I had to deal with many holier than thou attitudes about questions you might expect a novice to ask. How do you learn if you don’t ask questions? Remember the old adage that the only stupid question is the one you didn’t ask?

  • Randy Shikasho October 12, 2011, 4:56 pm

    Good article and I would like to add one item to the article. The gun store I used to work for had received two $400 USPS money orders and when I took them to the post office they examined them told me they were forged. They also told me that if I had attempted to cash them then I could have been arrested as part of the conspiracy to pass forged money orders. The old adage that the government has to prove your quilt doesn’t apply in this instance. We had to people in our community who got arrested and are paying dearly for that mistake. One was a very old lady and it was obvious even to the post office that she wasn’t part of the conspiracy, but that didn’t matter as that is how the law is applied. She was also made responsible for returning all the money to institution were she had cashed the check. All this maybe wrong, but apparently nobody has challenged the law. The Post Master recommended that anytime you have a USPS money order is to cash it at the post office where the responsibility will then rest in their hands as to verifying it’s authenticity & if it turns out to be counterfeit then they’ll let you know and they’ll fill out a report and then that will be the end of it.

    • Administrator October 12, 2011, 5:16 pm

      This would still be a USPS nexus and the same result.

  • Mac October 12, 2011, 4:39 pm

    I know this will be an exercise in futility but I have often been accused of being an optimist.
    Dear Moderator
    What exactly is your criteria for accepting a post. You do not have a problem touting GA but fail to allow a post that politely expresses some constructive criticism. It appears that censorship is alive and well at GA.

    • Administrator October 12, 2011, 5:18 pm

      We generally delete dumb ones that don’t show a lot of thought.

    • Administrator October 12, 2011, 5:20 pm

      Yours showed a genuine and complete lack of understand of how a classified ad differs from an auction format, and it was pretty clear you haven’t tried to email customer service at either website. Buyers prefer an asking price and making deals, and that is why our growth is in the triple digits and they are at 50% what they were even a year ago.

      • Mac October 13, 2011, 3:20 am

        Easy to make claims you can not support.
        Auction arms is the official auction site for the NRA. Wonder why?
        GB never fails to answer my email and has never resorted to insults, a tactic of an ill prepared small minded person.
        You only assume I lack understanding. As a now retired salesman for one of the largest firearms wholesale companies in America I think I can safely say that I have a decent grasp on both the wholesale and retail side of the business.
        You have the audacity to slander an extremely successful company in an attempt to make yourself look good, another sophomoric argument. I wonder why you fail to mention that GB has a fixed price option, must have slipped your mind. But my favorite, next you go so far as to tell your customers what to think.
        Will this make the cut?
        So let me tell you what I think. You sent me an email because I am in you data base, ie a customer. By GA’s own definition this is a blog and therefor an open forum for the free flow of ideas, not a one sided marketing tool driven by outright censorship. I can only wonder what you fear, the truth perhaps.

        • Administrator October 16, 2011, 4:44 pm

          Nobody fears the truth here lol, don’t worry. AA is no longer AA and their traffic has fallen to next to nothing. They are the NRA auction site because they pay for the honor, and the NRA would have sold that to a kid on the street corner like anyone else who comes through their doors with money. The fixed price option you speak of was a reaction to our wild success and their miserable failure with a failed a format that never was right for guns, as I have lectured at SHOT show for several years. And nobody said this was an open forum or a free flow of ideas. It is a dictatorship like anything else an administrator logs into to say what goes and what stays. What are you some kind of liberal hippie type? And yes, moronish comments will nearly always result in being ridiculed here, if we let them through at all. Yours has become fun, but you haven’t done half of the parrot lines that show up on the forum sites. We don’t need to tell you what to think. Someone has already done that for you.

          • Mac October 17, 2011, 4:26 pm

            I am pleased that you have found this “fun”. I must say though that I do not ever recall being called a “Liberal Hippie type”. It is difficult to have a battle of whits with an un-armed person. You indicate you are short of ammo when you sink to name calling. If it was not so ludicrous I might be insulted. Gee, I hope I did not waste my money when I became a patron member of the NRA. Perhaps I should reconsider my membership in the CRPA, SASS, USMC Scout Sniper Association, CCA but to name a few. I can not wait to hear your enlightened views on these organizations. I obviously need your guidance.

          • Administrator October 17, 2011, 11:24 pm

            We are all endowment members of NRA, (and a corporate sponsor of SASS btw). Why don’t you ask them why Proxibid is being used for their NRA auctions and not AA, because they sold that to yet someone else. It is ok to be a part of something and not agree with everything they do. Name calling is fun come on! And you have yet to list all of the other parrot lines about why GA is not as good or as “big” as our competitors (without actually checking the stats). That is just tradition in these discussions and you can’t break tradition now.

  • CliffL October 12, 2011, 3:40 pm

    A USPS Money order is the ONLY form of check that can NOT be stopped by the sender. They are as good as cash

  • RandyW October 12, 2011, 3:40 pm

    In your opinion is there an advantage to the extra costs incurred with certified mailings? Somewhere, a long time ago, I read that all a certified letter does for you is allow a marginally better paper trail in case of misdirected mail.

    • STEVE November 29, 2012, 11:30 pm

      Certified Mail (package or letter) IS only for conformation of delivery..REGISTERED MAIL (red label) is for security of the contents. Many window clerks do not how to explain to the customer what is the difference is/nor does the customer understand. POSTAL MONEY ORDERS look like a piece of “play money” BUT I assure you that a POSTAL INSPECTOR WILL CHASE YOU regarding money quicker and more efficiently than any other Federal Agent to include the IRS. PIs chased Butch & Sundance.

  • CollinLeon October 12, 2011, 3:03 pm

    I have read of cases where people are counterfeiting USPS money orders.

    • Paul Luketich October 12, 2011, 6:16 pm

      Where did you read this? Document your statement because I think its all BS. I know the USPS will investigate every single complaint regarding their money orders.

      If you can’t remember where then keep the info private until you do.

      “Keep your mouth shut and everyone will wonder how smart you are! Open it and we all can tell!”

      • KenJ October 15, 2011, 3:33 am

        You say “BS” and “I KNOW”. Well why don’t YOU put your money where your mouth is and document “I KNOW”! I happen to belong to a number of well respected internet gun forums and I have seen numerous posts about counterfeit USPS orders. I have only had one experience with a USPS claim and it was a bad experience. I sold an expensive collector rifle, bought insurance, and then because (They claim) of Hurricane Ike the gun SAT at the USPS hub in Atlanta for 14 days and took a total of 19 days to deliver. When it WAS delivered it had rust all over it and I had to refund a good portion of the selling price. I filed a claim and despite before and after pictures the USPS denied it saying I couldn’t prove I shipped the gun out rust free. So if they won’t do the right thing with a $1,500 gun, why do you have absolute faith they will do the right thing with a $400 gun?

        • Administrator October 15, 2011, 8:28 pm

          Nobody’s system is going to be without flaw Ken. We have been chasing fraud cases for 14 years now. The first major arrest was back in 2000 and involved several agencies, including a very helpful ATF agent who got ATF involved himself on his own volition. We have also had fantastic help from several state agencies this year, especially MD. But the most consistent of all has been USPS, often investigating claims a hundred miles away from the nearest field office. Nobody else is going to do do that for you Ken, and you can whine about the imperfections or your personal anecdotal case that you weren’t happy with, but USPS, *right now* is the best interstate police force we have.

  • RandyW October 12, 2011, 2:38 pm

    I sent a USPS MO out this morning to a well known shooting supply company. My question is about MO’s in general. I’ve always used Wallyworlds MO’s in the past. How are they viewed by companies? I haven’t had any problems (so far). Knock on wood. But this article made me wonder if maybe I should send larger dollar amount MO’s certified instead of normal snailmail?

    • Administrator October 12, 2011, 2:48 pm

      If the guy on the other end is using fake ID it doesn’t matter how you send it. Just use USPS no matter what you send. The issue isn’t whose money order it is. They are all good. The issue is who goes looking for it if someone steals from you. Wal-Mart coudln’t care less who cashes it.

  • ClaudeH October 12, 2011, 1:31 pm

    What about third-party intermediaries? I see these referred to from time to time but have never actually known of one.

    A network of well vetted 3PIs such as “pack & mail” services could be the mailing point for payment and verify shipment of the purchased item before handing over the payment.

    • Administrator October 12, 2011, 1:50 pm

      Third party escrow services are a headache for sellers and have to be licensed in both states. They arent effective or practical.

  • JimH October 12, 2011, 11:57 am

    Was scammed on ebay about 3yrs ago. Seller insisted on usps money order. US postal told me that there was no way to stop payment because the check was cashed at a check n go in Louisana. Scammer told me he operated out of New York. Had I paid with a personal check I could have stopped payment. The FBI got involved when I reported it to ebay. It feel under internet fraud. The scammer already amassed about $22,000 before they caught up with him. I did get my $180.00 back but only after alot of phone calls and a year and half later. My only advise to anyone out there is to get lots of pictures of the items your purchasing, talk on the phone pesonally to the individual, and get some personal information from them, like address, where can you see the item if you want to see it in person and there full name. Honest people will give you the shirt of their back, a thief will take yours.

    • Mac October 12, 2011, 2:55 pm

      Well said.

  • chicagogunsmith October 12, 2011, 11:44 am

    When I accept payments online, I prefer Visa Master Card. But I also accept USPS for those who don’t want to use credit cards, or want a “cash” discount that comes frmo using the money order. I am always nervous when I get some obscure money order or certified check.

    The USPS money order is the next best thing to real cash money.

  • Richard McGaughey October 12, 2011, 11:41 am

    Great article, and I look over the offerings at GA whenever I am interested in some particular firearm in order to take a look-see. But, when I buy I always buy from a FFL dealer with a storefront. That does limit my choices and I may pay more but I’ve never not received the merchandise. Having said that it is frequently the case that there is some unseen blemish when the gun arrives. Even from Cabela’s always call and ask questions.

  • Charles Erb October 12, 2011, 11:16 am

    I read the nice article on using USPMO’s for firearm transactions. Over the years I have found that sending a US Postal Money Order is a safe way to send payment for goods advertised. I especially like the reasoning why the BATF doesn’t get involved is because there was never a firearm involved in the transaction in the first place. The scammer copied the details of a firearm they saw advertised and made up their own fake ad. They never had a gun in the first place.

    Recently retiring from the firearms industry; I have a collection of fake bank drafts and cashiers checks from scammers that ask that you send the gun and return the “extra” or “overpayment” via Railway Express or Western Union to their address. I had my bank president laugh at one of these fake cashiers checks. She said,”It was a good try!” and handed the worthless piece of docuement back to me.

    If a seller will not accept a US Postal Money Order; something is wrong!! The cell phone photo is a great idea! That’s a great way to verify possession of goods offered. I also like rc airplanes. Some of the motors and equipment offered for sale in the classified ads gets rather pricey. There are frauds just waiting. Check a seller for their selling history and good feedback. I sent a seller payment last year for an article he advertised. Apparently he sold the same piece to a couple of other buyers. When I started a Postal Inspector investigation he hurried up a returned my $ via another return Money Order. All I had to do was send him the Post Office docuements. Apparently he wanted nothing to do with dealing with Postal Inspectors and returned my money after numerous e-mails and phone calls failed!!!

    I really appreciate good well written articles like this on honesty and safe payment methods. Scammers and cheats will always be around. Just make it very difficult for them to work their ploy. Maybe they will give up and get a real job and earn a living honestly!!

    In appreciation,
    Charlie Erb Fredericktown, PA

    • Dr. Duke October 12, 2011, 12:55 pm

      Wow, this has been going on since Railway Express was in business?
      There is truly nothing new under the sun.

  • TedK October 12, 2011, 10:22 am

    I think this is a truly excellent article; that is, everything except the advice on USPS money orders. Not only are USPS MOs inconvenient for daytime workers to obtain, there are issues with cashing them. Money orders have been counterfeited and stolen so when you go to cash them, banks will not give you cash unless you have sufficient funds to cover and the hold period is sometimes 10 days (depending on the bank). If the MO is for a large amount, you will have to procure multiple money orders and when cashing it, the Post Office will only cash it if they have “sufficient” reserves on hand; so kiss off cashing large money orders at a local small town PO (First hand really irritating and frustrating experience).

    The Postal Inspectors are excellent and proactive law officers. Like most effective law officers they are never without a heavy workload. They not only will investigate and enforce money order fraud, they’ll work on any fraud by mail. So, restrict any payments to USPS mail streams.

    • Administrator October 12, 2011, 10:29 am

      A USPS money order can be deposited through an ATM and I have never had a problem with it. If you don’t have a checking account to deposit into and you are just trying to cash anything you will have problems no matter what the form of payment.

  • Gary Peterson October 12, 2011, 9:47 am

    Good information. The internet has become the happy hunting grounds for every kind of bad guy imaginable. Thanks for the heads up. On a side fyi, the administrator accidently misspelled ‘God’ in the above piece. No biggie, thought you might want to know in case someone gets offended by it.

    • Administrator October 12, 2011, 9:57 am

      It isn’t misspelled. There are opinions that the prohibition in the Bible of erasing G-d’s name apply to internet screens the same as print, and that this counts in any language, not just hebrew. Why take chances?

  • Hal Baker October 12, 2011, 9:42 am

    I must vehemently disagree with your claim of “Internet Scammers fear the USPS Postal Inspectors:,as I am an example twice, of our Postal Services inability to bring to justice those who would advertise one thing,and provide another of lesser quality.I am a retired Governmemt Contract Mgr and can put a case file together that will stand up in court.However in both instances,when the seller provided merchandise of a lesser quality than advertised and also did not ship all advertised ,the Postal inspectors response after almost 6 months was :go file a small claims suit in the sellers home area!!”.Yes both were paid for with a Postal MO and was Priority Mailed.Both of these transactions cost me several Hundred Dollars each. NOTHING IS PERFECT OR FOOLPROOF

    • Administrator October 12, 2011, 9:55 am

      And that is why we put the fraud tips in as well. Nothing is perfect and I have seen in many cases the USPS hands cases off to local law enforcement because the US Attorney will not prosecute the case.

  • Redcobra October 12, 2011, 9:17 am

    Or, buy from your local gunshop.

    • Administrator October 12, 2011, 9:18 am

      Yes, that is the point of our Guns On Demand system. Now if only all the stocking dealers would sign up for it.

    • John Law November 25, 2011, 7:29 am

      I would much rather buy from a local gun shop, however being from a rural area local shops do not have the inventory and they must order the same as I. Unfortunately their prices are usually higher by about $50.
      I have brought several guns online and personally never by from anyone unless they are a FFL dealer. That is the one thing that seems to keep them straight.

  • White Buffalo October 12, 2011, 8:43 am

    I was “almost” a victim of Internet fraud last year on the purchase of a Colt Python and a Winchester 92 but thanks to an honest young man in California who was recovering from a car accident, the scanners did not get one dime. I sent a bank certified check made payable to the individual’s name in the amount of $2300 along with my FFL via Fed Ex. The recipient called me the next day inquiring about the monies and informing me that he didn’t have any guns for sale on GA. The name and address were correct but there were no items for sale. A few days later he received over $13000 from other buyers for the same two items. Apparently the scammer chose his name and address out of the phone book or Internet. It is “assumed” the thief would park down the street and wait for the overnight delivery truck to show up and simply sign for the envelope. All monies were returned to the would be victims, reports were filed with PD, FedEx, UPS, and USPS but the scammer was never caught. I now ask for additional pictures of the firearm before I make a purchase. Thanks to this honest individual, the thief’s plan was foiled. It’s comforting to know that even during these difficult economic times, there are still good people out there who do the right thing.

  • Red Crane October 12, 2011, 8:36 am

    Good advice. I do use Pay Pal in my on line business transactions. My business has no choice but to use it. I did not know about the anti gun policy. There just is not another source I can use.

  • Will Matney October 12, 2011, 8:23 am

    I tried to tell eBay this a few years back, when they demanded that everyone not use postal money orders, and use only Paypal. They still try to say that USPS money orders is not safe, which is, in fact, a lie.

    I have had to use the USPS inspectors for fraud, and I can assure you, they act, and they act quick. I had my problem resolved within a weeks time, and the seller was more than glad to comply, after a visit from an inspector. After all, we’re talking about a felony here, and mail fraud.

    Using a postal money order, and mailing it by the USPS, assures you that you have legal remedies in case someone tries to commit fraud against you. In my opinion, it is the safest way to pay.

    • Aaron October 17, 2011, 10:54 pm

      I agree. If an eBay seller won’t take a USPS money order, I won’t buy. Period! I’ve told numerous vendors that. They don’t care, they have bought into the eBay/PayPal BS about PayPal being all safe and perfect.

      • WILLIAM February 15, 2012, 6:52 pm


      • Lewis Clarke April 20, 2012, 8:20 am

        I agree with both Aaron and William. I’ve actually been ripped off twice by purchasing stuff on Ebay using Paypal. Paypal claims to “insure” your purchase, but both times I ended with nothing but an automated reply. Another time, someone hacked into my PayPal account and stole almost $100. Didn’t get that back either. If you buy something from overseas, you are really on your own, regardless of what Ebay and Paypal tell you. If you can’t resist that item on Ebay, use a credit card or USPS MO. You may never get the item, but you’ve got a decent chance of getting your money back. I’ve also sold items on Ebay and it is true that Ebay insists on sellers accepting Paypal unless they have a commercial credit card account…so I guess the take-away message here is that the PayPal “scam protection” is also really just another scam………

        • Bill in Lexington March 20, 2013, 6:57 pm

          Commercial credit card accounts for online sales used to require jumping through a number of hoops, but not so today. I obtained an Authnet account for myself back in the stone age of online sales and, even though I no longer sell anything that way, I keep it up. I also obtained a merchant account for an appliance repairman who I was helping move his business along (he chumped me, we are no longer associated in any way) about two years ago. All I did was Google “merchant credit card account” (or something like that) and then researched a half-dozen offers. He got a pretty good deal with two remote terminals, free supplies and a pretty good discount rate. But, like I said, a good deal wasn’t enough for him and we parted company on bad terms.

          Know this: if you have been upright as a consumer and continue to be upright as a merchant, the accounts can help you build your business by creating opportunities for sales you might not otherwise have. But if you screw around as a merchant, you’ll find your personal credit score has taken a dump that will take years to clear up.

  • Mike Copeland October 12, 2011, 8:01 am

    I am a fraud investigator for a local police agency. I inferred from your blog that local law enforcement doesn’t care about fraud. I have to disagree. I care quite a bit. But, I am frustrated daily because most cases involving internet or wire fraud end up with the suspects being very far away, sometimes on the other side of the world. Even if I locate a suspect a thousand miles away there is no way anyone is going to pay for extradition on a $3000.00 loss. Every day I tell victims, my neighbors in my community, that I can’t help them. Your advice is very sound. Just like when one is “out and about” be aware of your surroundings. Remain in condition “yellow”. Because most fraud crosses state lines the feds can investigate it. Anything with a stamp on it can invoke the interest of the USPS investigators. They are a great group. But, they are stretched very thin. My “local” USPS investigator is a hundred miles away. His assigned area covers about 1/3 of the entire state. The internet has provided an easy tool for the bad guys to use. It is still important for victims to make the report. Most credit card companies and banks require a case number to refund the money. This helps show the bank/credit agency that the victim is “legitimate” and not pulling a scam. A report also documents the incident. I advise every victim to pull a free credit report ONLY from the website. Most of the other “free” credit report sites are also email address harvesting bots. You can get one free report every year. Fraud victims can also get a free report. It is also possible to “freeze” your credit so that no one can open an account in your name. The FBI also has a great web site for fraud victims. Fraud is very rampant and requires constant vigilance to protect yourself. If it sounds too good to be true, run away!!

    • Administrator October 12, 2011, 8:05 am

      Nobody said that local cops don’t care. In many parts of the country they just have no clue, and even when they do these days cops are stretched too much due to budget cuts and workforce reductions.

      • Robin 'Roblimo' Miller October 12, 2011, 11:54 am

        One thing that comes through here, and is absolutely true: few local police departments have the skills and resources needed to track down Internet scammers, then extradite and transport them to where the complaint was filed.

        And yes, the FBI is sticking to big-loss crimes. If you sent somebody in Florida $400 for a gun but never got it, they have no interest in helping you.

        I’ve been reporting on computer and Internet matters for close to 20 years now, and the only way I’ve seen most online crime victims recoup any loss is through credit card company action. It’s good to know that the USPS is working to catch fraudsters. Sometimes, in a wired-up world, we forget about the old-fashioned law enforcers who may be our best bet, same as they were in the 1800s.

        • caldex October 12, 2011, 12:30 pm

          after my experience with a bad check and the local police i was extremely upset. i knew where my sold items where at and could not go to get them back even with the proof they where once mine. ended up after many phone calls and the little help from the police and several months we are fortunate to get our money. to me i can understand why many people do not turn in a claim sometimes it is not worth the hassle.

    • MADuffy February 4, 2013, 8:22 pm

      Can you help me. My first purchase is underway. The seller emails me to send a money order to the address he provided and he will mail the weapon insured. I thought there should be a FFL involved and some paperwork? I am hesitant to send any money. How can I prove this transaction is legit?

      • Administrator February 4, 2013, 9:29 pm

        He will be sending it to your FFL dealer.

  • recent victim October 12, 2011, 6:47 am

    I was one of the MANY that were caught off guard by a person who had rented a mailbox in many cities and had the payments forwarded from there … he was finally caught in Florida.

    He sent an email that I was the winner after I used BUY NOW… BUT, he did not take the ad down, so others were also fooled.

    This is tricky to know and at this time I do not know if GA has an instant message stating something like ‘sale in progress’ or similar to let a buyer know someone else already hit the ‘buy now’ button…. it would certainly help if they did.

    Another point is, even though we had cell phone conversations, he was in a hurry and it sounded legit, BUT I did not know of or think of having him send an instant photo of the gun AND of him …. with some identity of the gun and himself BEFORE he sent the photo …. and BEFORE I sent payment.

    I has been almost 2 yrs now, he is caught and prosecuted, but as of yet I have not received and do not know if I will receive any of my money = $1000 plus PMO and mailing costs.

    So, beware and DO NOT BE IN A RUSH…..if it sounds too good, it most likely is too good to be true.

    • Administrator October 12, 2011, 8:23 am

      This scammer was actually an American and it was in fact USPS Inspectors in Sarasota/Tampa who pushed this case to the end and had the resources put in place to catch Mr. Webster. Here is our story on it. The USPS Inspector has asked that we do not use her name but she knows who she is. Mr. Webster is currently in jail.

      • Don Evangelista June 6, 2014, 9:19 am

        I bought a pistol from a guy. In Alaska and made payment with 2 USPS Money orders totaling $1400 sent w delivery confirmation. It was a scam
        I contacted the postal inspectors by phone and sent an inquiry to the local police all with copies of the MOs and postal receipts naming the sellers name and address

        Neither had any interest in the evidence. I submitted a fraud complaint on line and requested a copy of the endorsed money orders and I’m still waiting from Feb 2014

        I have NO faith in the USPS

  • cheap Mocha Tall UGGS 5163 October 12, 2011, 2:10 am

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  • cheap gucci October 12, 2011, 2:09 am

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    • Quailard October 12, 2011, 10:16 am

      English! Do you speak it?

      • Bill in Lexington March 20, 2013, 6:44 pm

        It’s spam. Follow the link in the name. They are selling fake Gucci stuff. If they actually ship anything at all, it will be junk. Might as well be carnival prizes. The actual thieves pay others to post this crap for them in order to keep their own IP address from getting blacklisted. The chumbolone posts this crap, changes the wording a bit with each post to make filtering difficult and collects a little chump change for so doing. Sooner or later HIS IP address gets blocked … and that’s what makes him / her a chumbolone.

        Same for the comment below this one for “Cheap Mocha Tall UGGS 5163.

        When I was operating a blog I used to get this sort of crap all the time. It pretty much has to be weeded out by hand and that is a time-sucking PITA.

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