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Scam Targeting Shooting Instructors

Joshua Wander, NRA Election Volunteer Coordinator in Pittsburgh, recently posted a story on Facebook about how he was a target of a scam targeting shooting instructors. He says that he was contacted by a person claiming to be from Japan who was looking for a firearms class during an upcoming family trip to the United States. They agreed at a price of $450 for the entire family. That is not what Wander received…

He received four money orders for $875.21 each that comes to more than $3,5000. He immediately recognized what was going on.

This is an old scam, when I call to tell them that they sent too much, they will ask me to deposit the checks and send them back the difference. It will take the bank a couple of weeks to figure out that the money orders are fake!

Turns out he’s not the only shooting instructor to be targeted by this classic scam lately. I did a quick search for the topic and found another report.

A few months ago, NSCA (National Sporting Clay Association) informed instructors and clubs of fraudulent activities targeting NSCA Certified Instructors around the country. This week, we have learned of other instructors and clubs who have been targeted with similar schemes.

The instructors and clubs tell us they are being contacted through email by someone who is supposedly setting up a shooting event for a corporate group. Some of the reports say the person claims to be from England.

The person inquires about booking instruction for the group, including guns, ammunition, and other equipment, adding up to thousands of dollars. Some of the emails ask for the instructor’s bank account information so he can wire the payment to the bank, while others ask the instructor to handle some US payments on behalf of the group, with a promise to send a money order.

So, if you’re a shooting instructor with your name and contact information published, be aware of this scam. While it’s a pretty classic case of fraud that most people have heard of, it usually takes other forms like roommate or rental ads, or even purchasing a products. Even if it doesn’t cheat you out of cash, it could cheat you out of your time by having to respond to these criminals in their initial inquiries.

10 Responses to “Scam Targeting Shooting Instructors”

  1. mikee says:

    This is a common form of scam. When selling a litter of pups last month, there were MORE scam attempts than real inquiries.

    With puppies (or any other physical item) the scam works like this:
    1. Emailed inquiry regarding your item for sale, usually badly written.
    2. Refusal to talk on phone, usually because of “deafness.”
    3. Offer to buy at or above list price, paying by money order.
    4. Oh, by the way, a friend or delivery service will bring the money order and pick up the item.
    5. The money order is for an amount sufficient to pay your list price, plus pay the delivery guy (out of your pocket, of course) plus an extra $100 for your trouble.

    The money orders are counterfeit, and it takes weeks for your bank to determine that.

    “All sales in cash only” usually stops the scammers from wasting more of your time, although it is fun to give them the address of the local police station instead of mine.

    • Bitter says:

      Interesting that they actually have the nerve to send someone to pick up the item, that’s begging for a cop to be waiting.

      In this case, I just thought it was interesting that they cited nationalities that are known for having people interested in shooting when they come to visit the “wild west” culture of the United States. There’s a reason why you can find advertisements for shooting ranges in Waikiki. I also thought it was relevant since, paired with the announcement from the sporting clays guys, it seems like shooting instructors could be the new “hot” target.

  2. ExurbanKevin says:

    Just emailed this to the shooting instructors I know. Thanks!

  3. asdf says:

    Anybody stupid enough to fall for this deserves to lose his money.

    • Bitter says:

      I actually don’t agree that anyone “deserves” to be the victim of a crime. I also don’t believe that anyone who doesn’t fall for it deserves to have their time & the energy that it takes to plan classes lost even if they don’t turn over any money.

      • asdf says:

        To be sure, these scammers deserve a hot poker up da butt, but it takes a special kind of stupid in the year 2012 to accept paper money orders and then schedule classes before the money clears. And it’s the height of stupidity to refund the difference before the money has cleared.

        Would you take shooting lessons from such a gullible person?

        • Bryan says:

          So, how long would you wait for the money to clear? Three days, five days, how about ten business days/two weeks? Certainaly that would be long enough.

          Buzzzz, nope, money orders and international checks can take weeks to fail. In the mean time, your bank statement will show the funds and the bank will tell you the money is there. Federal law sets rather brief limits on the time banks may hold your deposit before making the money available to you, but they can take it back weeks later if the deposit is fraudulant.

          So, your response shows your own ignorance.

        • Bitter says:

          Considering that I don’t expect to know the history behind every single financial transaction of a person I might have a business relationship with, I can’t say that I would not take shooting lessons from someone who fell for it.

          A big component of scamming people is hitting them with just the right language at just the right moment when they can fall for it – regardless of how intelligent and street smart they might be otherwise. I agree that it should set of alarm bells if they ask for money in return, but not everyone has heard of this scam before. I think the first I ever heard of it was when I looked for a roommate in DC a couple of years after I left college, and one of the people I emailed followed up later to inform me that my response sounded best after he was taken in by one of theses scams. For many people, it seems like “just the right thing to do” if you haven’t heard of the scam before.

  4. Joe Allen says:

    I realize most of the scammers are actually on a separate continent but still, that’s a dubious victim selection process when you are actively targeting people whom you know to be heavily armed!

  5. Marcus says:

    Anyone who falls for this scam deserves what they get.

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