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Buying NFA Item From Out Of State ~ Avoiding Scams ~


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What do you all do when buying an NFA item out of state, from someone with no available feedback?

I'd assumed the big players/dealers buy from individuals all the time (with little to no feedback). And I'd assume send some type of payment before getting the item or approved Form 3.

Is asking for an unredacted copy of the Form 4, and showing the items serial number, acceptable? 50/50 payment? Any other common ways to avoid a scam when feedback and credit card aren't available.




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talk to them on the phone, preferably video chat (facetime) and ask to see the gun "live".  

If it is a dealer, only send payment to the name/address on the license (verify in EZ-Check)

Avoid wire transfers, cash apps (Venmo/paypal), Western Union, etc.  

Send a cashier's check signature required.

Form 3/4 can be copied/stolen/forged/altered.  

Google their name/address/email/phone number and see what comes up.

Don't be in such a hurry to get a "great deal" that you fall for a scam.  Better to lose out on a legit deal than to get scammed on a great deal.



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Ask for the copy of the form 4. Ask around chances are some one will know them. The NFA world is a pretty small place ask who they know an have done deals with. Talk to them on the phone. plan a little road trip/buy a plane ticket an see it in person.  Pictures of the gun in a weird place or a torn pice of paper with your name written on it. Ask what local gun shop they use an then call the shop to see if they know them. These are all things I have done/do.

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FYI the torn piece of paper with something written on it, next to the gun, can be photoshopped/faked easily.

See example below, scammer responding to my WTB ad - I asked for my name written on paper, photographed next to gun.

Photo is a fake (photoshopped)

(I edited out my name for privacy)



Edited by shiklg
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I generally wouldn't bother to buy a suppressor or an SBR/SBS from an unknown individual out of State when I can most likely purchase the same item in State from an individual or an out of State dealer.  Besides who want to wait months for a F4 from an individual seller to clear to your dealer for the vast majority of suppressors or SBR/SBSs.

Machineguns are different, if its an individual seller (or a dealer without a long business history) I always go visit in person even it it means a long drive or a plane ticket.

For dealers that buy from random individuals out of State I assume they have their own vetting process to minimize the risk but at the end of the day take the risk and bake the random scam into their cost of doing business.   I recall even Ruben posting on this board (or subguns) a couple years back about getting scammed by a seller who sold the same gun to multiple dealers and obviously didn't deliver it to Ruben.

Edited by jbntex
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I usually judge the situation based on how I got the lead on the guns. That being said most of the guns I have purchased over the years came from knowledgable people with a verifiable activity trail or verification from trusted individuals. I do however ask for copies of the forms and very specific photos of the guns.

The only time I have ever been scammed it was by a dealer in my home state who took payment for a stenling he said was at the time being converted. He never produced the gun and ended up in federal prison before I could do anything about my situation.

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I am new to the process but in my limited experience so far I purchased a transferable SWD M11/nine out of state private party in February 2022.

I spoke with them multiple times on the phone and had them send me videos of them shooting the MG and copies of their NFA forms.  After I was comfortable they were not a scam I mailed them 75% of the purchase price by check to start the transfer to my in state dealer. Once they had the the approved NFA form to transfer to my in state dealer I sent the remaining 25% by check. Once it was in my home state and logged into my dealers books, I was able to begin the eform 4 process to transfer it to me that was in October 2022. I am still waiting on that form 4 to be approved and my guess is it will be approved sometime in July 2023. So I am expecting the entire experience to take 17 months from agreement to in hand. 


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  • 3 weeks later...

As noted above, buy a plane ticket, and go see it. A few hundred dollars is cheap compared to the purchase price for most transferables these days. Plus, you often get to meet and know someone cool who shares your same interests. 

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