Scammers seem to have become aware of the Airsoft community lately, with a noticeable increase in reports of people being conned on social media, forums etc. They’ve obviously worked out that the value of used Airsoft guns is fairly high, and they could stand to make a fair bit of money from us.
It seems that the current method is to sell an item to an unsuspecting buyer and trick them into using the unprotected “Friends and Family” PayPal option to send the money. The item probably doesn’t exist either, as in many cases the auction text and images are being stolen from elsewhere on the net. The seller never sends the item and then uses misdirection to avoid paying back the money when it doesn’t arrive.
If you’ve fallen victim to one of these people there’s no shame in it. Scammers have got their tricks down to a fine art, and make themselves appear as legitimate as possible.
Frustrating as it may seem, there’s is almost no point whatsoever trying to bring the scammers to justice. They are most likely using a fake or stolen identity which along with anonymising internet IP services and bogus email addresses will make it difficult, if not impossible to track them down. Scammers cover their tracks very well.
So If you get scammed when buying Airsoft stuff online what can you do? Here are a few tips to help recover your money if the unthinkable actually happens to you.
Call your Bank or Credit Card Company IMMEDIATELY if you suspect that you’ve been scammed
Why not contact PayPal first you may ask? Well, we’ll get to that in the next section, but the best chance of recovering your funds is to tell your card issuer what’s happened as soon as possible and ask them to perform a chargeback. There are unfortunately no guarantees that your bank will be able to recover the money through a chargeback, however we can tell you that it has been used successfully by an Airsofter who was caught out!
If you paid via credit card, and the item was over £100- then things aren’t quite so bad. UK law, specifically Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, says that your credit card company is jointly liable for any breach of contract or misrepresentation by the retailer or trader for any purchases you make using your credit card. So they should have you covered.
Whilst you should also contact PayPal , you don’t have to wait until you reach a impasse with them before you contact your credit card provider – you can make a claim to both PayPal and the credit card provider simultaneously, although you can’t recover your losses from both.
File a dispute claim with PayPal
Whilst it doesn’t hurt to try this, if you paid by “Friends and Family” you’re not very likely to get much help from PayPal, as payments made using this option are not eligible for Buyer Protection.
Even if you paid using the goods option you may not fare any better. We’ve seen conflicting accounts of whether PayPal will cover sales of Airsoft guns via their platform as they do not allow:
So to put it simply, if you bought a RIF via PayPal you’re probably out of luck, but most other items should be fine.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of Cure
It may be stating the obvious, but it is better to avoid being scammed in the first place. If you follow these simple rules you shouldn’t go far wrong.
- Don’t pay for any Airsoft items by PayPal “Friends and Family”- no matter what story the seller comes up with.
- Make sure that the seller’s PayPal name and details match the name they are using to sell the item.
- Pay by credit card for items over £100- even if you have the money. It gives you an extra layer of protection.
Check out the seller’s Prefired profile page
- Do they have any feedback/ a good feedback score?
- How long have they been a member?
- Are they verified?
- Do they have a connected Facebook account?
What are we doing at Prefired to improve security?
You may have noticed the subtle facelift Prefired had earlier in the week. This was part of a larger update to the site behind the scenes which included some security updates and new features. We have added a new reporting button at the bottom of each ad listing, this makes it easy for you to report a suspect listing or problem directly from the listing itself.
The other new security measure we’ve added is image watermarking. As the scammers are stealing people’s ad images from platforms around the internet, Prefired now watermarks your uploaded images with your username to make life a bit harder for them. We don’t want them stealing all our user’s pictures now do we!
Prefired already has a user verification and user feedback system in place to help protect you from bad sellers so please use them! If you buy or sell an item please leave your trading partner feedback and help make things safer for everyone.
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