OMAHA, Neb. (Press release) – Over the past year, six suspected arms dealers advertising physical locations in Kansas or Nebraska have racked up numerous unanswered complaints and thousands of requests to the Better Business Bureau (BBB ). Nearly $10,000 in losses were reported by the victims.
“Unfortunately, we have been monitoring an increase in gun scams in our area,” said BBB President and CEO Jim Hegarty. “Sites that look legit but don’t provide physical addresses or companies that outright lie and advertise a stranger [or unrelated] physical address – have infiltrated our service area. »
Consumers who paid for items with peer-to-peer payment methods like Zelle or with cryptocurrency like Bitcoin reported to the BBB that they never received the purchased product.
“On their homepage, they have all the major ways to pay for their products: Visa, PayPal, Mastercard, etc. Well, they don’t take any of them,” said a Utah resident who filed a report to BBB Scam Tracker. “They want you to pay with Cash App or Bitcoin. They have a chat window to get help. As a new customer they are very helpful, until they get your money. »
A Texas resident who paid for a product with Zelle said he never received the order. After calling and emailing the company, the person said they never heard back.
The most notable of these gun distributors is Firearms World, which has received over 4,000 inquiries in the past 11 months. Firearms World claims to be physically located in Topeka. However, the address listed on the company’s website is a residential property owned by someone who is not affiliated with Firearms World, BBB confirmed.
BBB has handled Firearms World complaints from consumers in 14 states, with many affected consumers using Zelle for payment. Firearms World has an “F” rating with the BBB and has 22 unanswered complaints, the majority of which stem from delivery issues. The company claims to have a federal firearms license – a unique identification number assigned by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – but this license does not belong to Firearms World, confirmed BBB.
The site’s lifetime warranty includes a separate company, Discount Enterprises LLC, which is not affiliated with the company, BBB confirmed. Complaints sent by BBB to Firearms World went unanswered. The website domain, arms-to-fire-world.com, was initially registered for only one year, but was renewed for another year. Sales of Victims of Firearms World reported a total loss of $7,600.44 to BBB.
Alphex Firearms is another firearms distributor with complaints from nine states and over 4,500 inquiries since October 2021. Like Firearms World, Alphex Firearms has an active website that displays a physical residential address and an FFL license number that do not belong to the company. Alphex Firearms sales victims reported a total loss of $2,018.68 to BBB.
The Gun Shop, a business claiming a physical address in Morrill, Nebraska, came to the attention of the BBB via Scam Tracker after a consumer said a purchase had not been delivered. A complaint sent to the company by the BBB went unanswered. BBB confirmed that The Gun Shop previously operated in Morrill, Nebraska, but discovered that the business closed over 10 years ago.
The actual physical addresses of Firearms World, Alphex Firearms, and The Gun Shops are unknown.
Other alleged arms distributors in the BBB service area with unanswered complaints include:
- Manual Loading Supply in Ellsworth, Kansas
- Reloading Supplies in Baldwin City, Kansas
- Fort Scott Munitions in Fort Scott, Kansas
- Guns Shop Inc. in Wichita, Kansas
- Mega Fire Arms USA in Garden City, Kansas
- The gun store in Morrill, Nebraska
Your BBB offers the following tips for safe online shopping practices:
Know the advertiser. Some of the best deals are only available online, but it’s important to be careful. It’s easy for a fake site to imitate a famous retailer’s website, so make sure you’re shopping on a legitimate site. If the site lacks contact information, that’s a red flag. Check retailers on BBB.org before shopping.
Check a site’s security settings. If the site is secure, its URL (web address) should start with “https://” and include a lock icon on the purchase or cart page.
Be a smart buyer. When shopping online, be sure to take your time and read the fine print before submitting your order. Look for the return policy; although many online orders can be returned for a full refund, others have a restocking fee. Some items cannot be returned; know before you buy.
Think before you click. Pay particular attention to email solicitations and online advertisements on social media sites. Many sketchy retailers advertise great deals that don’t live up to the promotional hype.
Beware of offers that are too good to be true. Offers on websites and in unsolicited emails may offer free or very low prices on hard-to-find items. There may be hidden costs or your purchase may sign you up for a monthly fee. Look for and read the fine print.
Beware of phishing. Phishing emails may look like a message from a well-known brand, but clicking on unknown links may put you at risk of malware and/or identity theft. A popular scam claims to be from a package delivery company with links to “tracking information” on an order you can’t remember. Don’t click!
Buy with a credit card. In the event of a fraudulent transaction, a credit card offers additional protections; it’s easier to dispute charges you didn’t approve or get your money back if something goes wrong. Debit cards, prepaid cards or gift cards do not enjoy the same protections as a credit card.
Keep the documentation of your order. Save a copy of the confirmation page or email confirmation until you receive the item and are satisfied. Make sure you know and understand the return policy and keep it with your purchase records. According to the FTC, when shopping online, sellers are expected to ship your order within the time frame listed in their listings or within 30 days if the listings don’t give a time frame. If a seller can’t ship within the promised time, they should give you a revised ship date, with the option to cancel your order for a full refund or accept the new ship date.
Keep a clean machine. Install firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware software for network security. Check for and install the latest updates and run regular virus scans on your computer, tablet and smartphone.
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