Warning: Scam Targeting Shooting Instructors

Several different pro-gun websites have reported a scam that seeks to take advantage of unsuspecting shooting instructors.

According to Shall Not Be Questioned, the Pennsylvania-based firearm blog, the scam involves an email from a person claiming to be from Japan (or another foreign country) who is looking for firearms classes for his family or a group of people during an upcoming trip to the United States. 

Here is a version of the email:

Greetings,

I want to book for 2 weeks firearm training, 1 or 2 hours each day Monday to Friday (morning or evening hours) for a group of 10. We will be coming to your country for one month vacation/holiday from 28th Sept. 2012 and in line with our plans we will require 2 weeks firearm/safety training in your place just for the experience as we require no certificate at the end of the session and also to make our stay fun. We have been working for months without vacation so would want to add some fun to our upcoming vacation as this training will also help us in overcoming the fear of gun generally as most members have not touched a gun before.

The sessions should basically be a fun training experience for my group, please let me know if you can organize the training for us from your field of profession so i can finalize arrangements with my group and get back to you with more clear and specific details. Also confirm if you can arrange one on one exercise for us each day or if its better in group.

Awaits your email.

Changi Wong

The con artist then attempts to dupe the firearms instructor into giving him personal information, such as the instructor’s bank account info for a “wire transfer” or, in the case of Joshua Wander, a NRA Election Volunteer Coordinator in Pittsburgh, the con artist negotiated a price for the training – $450 – and then sent Wander four different money orders for $875.21 each, totally more than $3,500.

The goal was to trick Mr. Wander into depositing the faux money orders into his bank account and then having him send back the difference in real money to the con artist.  It’s an old scam, but one that – for one reason or another – continues to work. 

Fortunately, Mr. Wander caught on right after he received the money orders. 

The National Skeet Shooting Association and the National Sporting Clays Association warned people of similar scam in the past:

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, please spread the word about this scam.  Be sure to tell those trainers and instructors who have their names and contact information published to be wary of emails from foreigners looking to book range time for groups or families. 

Also, for reference, here is a list of common “Confidence Tricks” and Internet Scams.

(Picture Credit: Joshua Wander)