1. For local face to face deals
2. For online deals
3. To protect your own PAL info
4. Report a member
1. For local face to face deals.
First and foremost, we highly recommend face to face transactions when possible. We recommend that you buy in person, and in cash. The CFP has received a lot of reports of people being defrauded when trying to buy firearms over the internet. The most common way is that the unsuspecting buyer sends the seller an EMT(email money transfer). Then the fraudulent seller does not ever mail out a firearm. Therefore the buyer is out of their money and has no way of finding the fraudulent seller. Buying in person, and in cash is the best way to avoid being defrauded.
The second reason we recommend buying in person and in cash is so that you will not be disappointed in the condition of your purchase when it arrives in the mail. When you buy in person, you can physically inspect a firearm before you even agree to a final price. When buying from only seeing a digital photograph, you cannot inspect and verify the condition of the bore, crowning, smoothness of the action, and general overall condition.
Many firearms owners have simply used their home as a meeting place to complete their private sales for many years with no issues. For those who are not comfortable with giving your home address as your meeting place when arranging with a buyer. You could suggest a more public meeting place. For example(s): Local shooting range, local gun shop parking lot, piece of Crown land.
If you are going to select a public meeting place. Please use common sense in selecting that meeting place. For example: In a busy suburban city. If you choose to meet in a mall parking lot to examine a firearm and complete a sale. There is a high probability that other members of the public will not be understanding of firearms and the culture that goes with it. Those other citizens may call the police creating an unnecessary inconvenience
2. For online deals.
If you are going to purchase outside of your local area, and have the item shipped to you. The number one way to avoid being defrauded is simply to have items shipped to you C.O.D.(cash on delivery) with Canada Post. We recommend that you never send an E.M.T.(email money transfer) to a stranger. Here is the link for info on C.O.D. https://www.canadapost.ca/web/
- Read over the member profile information. Read their reviews from other site members, also see how long they have been a member for. (If they don't have any reviews, that doesn't necessarily mean that they are not trustworthy to deal with. They may be new or not do a lot of buy and sell. This is just one extra measure to help create an overall assessment of the seller.)
- Look over their ad carefully. Watch for specific things that should raise warning signs. Such as; Firearms not properly classified in the listing(ex. an AR-15 or handgun classified as Non-Restricted), No phone number listed or phone number with an area code that is not local to that area, or a phone number that is text only or goes to an automated system(Please note that we have blocked scammers that had ads in several different provinces, and each ad had the correct area code in the phone number. Lesson here is that the correct area code does not guarantee that this seller actually lives in the area that they claim to.). Ads that have unusually low pricing should also alert you to proceed with caution. If the 'view map' location indicated by the postal code that they list does not line up with their supposed location. Images that appear to be swiped from an online source instead of uploaded photos. You can actually do an image search on Google to see if the image was swiped from other websites(Sometimes images that have been swiped still do not show up when searched with Google Images).
- If the seller refuses to speak on the phone. Or if they refuse to meet in person to let you inspect the item before you buy. Even if you don't live around the person you are looking to buy from, you can offer to have a family member or friend, who lives in that area to come check it out before you buy. If they refuse that offer, they are 99% likely to be a scammer.
- If it is a firearm that you are looking to purchase. Ask the seller to provide you with the serial number. You can even go a step further and ask them to take a photo of the serial number and send it to you. That image should look like the same firearm that the seller posted in his ad. You could even ask for a photo of the firearm serial number, drivers license, or even the persons recent utility bill altogether in one photo. You can also request the seller's PAL number. You can call the CFP and verify that this PAL is valid. That way you can ensure that the seller has the firearm, and that the PAL that they are using is in fact their name and that they have a Canadian address. Reason being, is that probably close to 99.9% of scammers are not Canadian and not really a PAL holder, and therefore do not even have the firearm that they are trying to sell you. This step just verifies that all 3 criteria in question are true.
3. To protect your own PAL info
To protect your own PAL. It is best practice to only give the seller the information on your PAL, rather than a photo of your PAL card. The seller can call the CFP to verify your PAL without seeing an actual photo of your PAL. The information that is needed from the PAL is; Name as appears on the card, PAL number, expiry date, and birth date as it is written on the card.
4. Report a member
If you find a member who you suspect to be a scammer. PLEASE... Contact us to report it so that we can remove that member from the site. When you do this, please include the following in your email;
- Copy and paste the link for that ad into the email.
- Please give us a description of why you think that member is a scammer
- If you have had dialog with that member through email, please forward us those emails or screenshots, so that we can see for ourselves what the seller has said that would give evidence that they are a scammer. (That way we can eliminate hearsay if we see what the seller said for ourselves. Thus we can avoid the risk of blocking an account unnecessarily.)