A couple of months ago someone sent a text to my cell phone inquiring about firearms training. She stated she was the mother of two adult boys and that she would pay for them to receive training. She was quick to mention that she was hard of hearing.
Her English was terrible.
Now, I know enough American Sign Language to get by. Years ago I used to chat with a deaf friend of mine and discovered it’s very dangerous to sign and drive. I also discovered that, depending on the individual, a deaf person’s English may not be as good as a hearing person’s. I also knew that TTY deaf phone calls could be made that allow the deaf and the hearing to communicate over the line.
As the texts went on, I soon realized the text was a scam. The “hard of hearing” lie was so there wouldn’t be any phone calls. The loser on the other end of texts was probably from India, the Middle East or some criminal hideout in Dearborn, Michigan. That’s why the English was so poor; the con wasn’t American. She (or he) just wanted to get my account numbers and personal information.
When I called the number there was no answer. Further inquiry revealed the number was bogus.
The next day I received another text from another number. This guy wanted to follow-up with me about the texts from the day before but it was soon obvious to me he wanted to scam me for money. Of course, that number didn’t work either.
I didn’t respond to that text. I wouldn’t have even responded to the first text except I’ve had many people contact me by text for training over the years and it’s my business.
After these two obvious attempts, I figured the scammers would move on. Well, just the other day I received the following email.
My Name Is Jonny and am hearing impaired i will like to know if you can do Fire arm training and do you accept credit card ? This is for my sons. Let me know if you can train them ?
It came from email@example.com.
I’m sure it’s a real email account, but there’s no doubt it’s the same criminal enterprise. I marked the email as spam and did not reply.
With the Internet connecting thousands of individuals and businesses together at a mouse click, scammers are able to become more creative in their choice of target and approach when attempting fraud. My guess is that my contact information went to a variety of websites after I became a firearms trainer, particularly a concealed weapons instructor, and these criminals obtained it while trawling the web for victims.
There could even be some nefarious computer algorithm that tracks down firearms instructor information from a variety of sources. It could also just be some losers who work hard searching the Internet instead of searching for an honorable job. Whatever the case, instructors, do not respond to any texts or emails from “hard of hearing,” non-English speaking strangers who say they want your personal information in order to pay you for firearms training. Also, if they offer to send you money through the mail, be leery about accepting it, especially if the amount is for more than what agreed upon or from a bank you are unfamiliar with. If you ignore them, hopefully they’ll leave you alone.
Safety warning: Jeffrey Denning is a long time self-defense professional and any training methods or information he describes in his articles are intended to be put into practice only by serious shooters with proper training. Please read, but do not attempt anything posted here without first seeking out proper training.