FFL Fraud: What's the story?


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RM
September 3, 2008, 10:30 PM
I visited a new FFL today for a transfer. He told me he no longer sends signed copies of his license to individuals. Apparently there has been some fraud going on with these documents. Instead, he requested that the firearm seller verify his FFL status at the ATF website thru "easycheck." So what crime is occurring with signed FFL licenses? I would assume forgery is involved? Thank you.

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CDignition
September 3, 2008, 10:46 PM
I cant imagine anyone would be stupid enough to forge that document and put their address on the forgery.. Some dealers are just ******y.

Tom Servo
September 3, 2008, 11:49 PM
That's a little paranoid, but understandable. A rogue copy of an FFL can be a real problem.

Example: Joe Smith bought his business from Tom Jones. Smith and Jones have two different FFL's, but the business is at the same physical address.

At one point in the past, Jones chose to give out signed copies of his FFL to friends of his. Jones' friends go to various sites representing themselves as FFL's to get guns at dealer cost.

Meanwhile, Smith has no idea this is going on until:

a) he suddenly starts getting tons of guns he didn't authorize or know of,

b) Smith gets penalized by distributors for placing below-minimum orders he wasn't aware of, or

c) Smith, not knowing why he's getting these mystery guns, refuses to sign for them and subsequently gets chewed out by suppliers and angry customers who had "an arrangement" with the old owner.

In another case, some bozo with a copy of a dealer's FFL could do some photoshopping and arrange to have guns shipped directly to his house. In this case, the real FFL holder has no idea that guns are being purchased under his number until the ATF shows up to shut him down for having unrecorded inventory.

Neither of those situations are purely hypothetical; I've dealt with one directly, and the other almost got a friend's shop shut down.

z28orshoot
September 4, 2008, 05:15 AM
my ffl will NOT send copies to individuals because of this exact reason. cant really say i blame her.

Griz44
September 4, 2008, 06:33 AM
I have had several requests for transfer from individuals who requested that I send them a copy of my FFL so they can send it with payment to a seller. I send a copy only to another FFL, so I inform them of that. I ask for the name and address of the seller so I can send my FFL diectly to them, and verify their FFL. I will also offer to receive thier check or payment here, add my FFL to the payment and forward it on to the seller as well. When the buyer refuses, I figure they were up to no good. That sounds like the scam mentioned above. We invest a lot of time and money into the license and record keeping, need to be careful to protect it!

shooting time
September 4, 2008, 07:39 AM
I modified my FFL with 2 boxes that say Dealer transfer only and Not valid for purchase in big letters imposed over the seal. and I would think that most suppliers check out the validility of the FFL's they receive on the BATF web page

Deanimator
September 4, 2008, 07:53 AM
I cant imagine anyone would be stupid enough to forge that document and put their address on the forgery.
When you bet against the limitless stupidity of dishonest people, you take a sucker's bet.
I know a guy who wrote literally dozens of company checks to himself that show up in the accounting system as legit checks to other people and companies. He incorporated his own competing company using a company credit card. He stole money from one company by forging his signature on a check, then "loaned" the money to another company, writing himself checks to "repay" the loan. He kited probably hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of checks. Then when he was caught and fired, he sued for wrongful termination and claimed half ownership of the company... after having signed a legal document to escape a wage garnishment that stated that he was a commissioned salesman. And is this guy living in the Cayman Islands? No, he's being foreclosed on and will probably be evicted from his home... just in time to be indicted for grand theft. Did I mention that he doesn't pay his lawyers? Yeah, a real Ernst Stavro Blofeld, huh?

There is simply NO limit to the sheer stupidity of evil people. If you need further proof, I invite your attention to the history of Germany between 1933 and 1945.

Flame Red
September 4, 2008, 08:49 AM
We have the same thing happening here in Central Florida. First, most (if not all) FFL's here will no longer do transfers, but the few that do, will only do them from other FFL's - No Individuals!

Second, in the old days not that long ago, the FFL would put their FFL in the envelope seal it and let me mail it. Not anymore. They won't even give me the envelope to take to the post office. They either want to fax it themselves or post it themselves.

Kind of stupid because one could just have them fax it to my own fax number. Half the time, they fax it to the wrong place anyway!

Lashlarue
September 4, 2008, 09:17 AM
My ffl will either fax or hand you a copy of his ffl for purchases.Seems like a lot of trouble to go to jail. The ffl on the other end can verify the info on the ffl and that gets you , no gun and a visit from the BATF....

CDignition
September 4, 2008, 10:06 AM
I don't worry over it.. its like being a liquor store owner and not selling alcohol to anyone cause they might drive drunk.

I send my FFL to private individuals if I'm getting a firearm in from them, and will do transfers from anyone. The rest is just marketing BS and dealers being bully's(same goes to guys above me who posted that they don't do these things to "Protect" their license.that's a BS excuse.) Ill bet they charge 50 bux for a transfer also.... Just do what the law requires of you for your license.. anything else is just bad business.

Flame Red
September 4, 2008, 10:14 AM
Ill bet they charge 50 bux for a transfer also

I could only wish - that is the low end cost for transfers around here (of the few that still will do any). And they give you the third degree just for the favor of taking your $.

The FFL's here in Central Florida come up with all kinds of Doozies. Like it is an ATF regulation to only take transfer from other FFLs. ATF requires each gun to go out the door with a gun lock installed and they will be happy to sell you one if you don't bring one with you. They seem to invent new ones all the time.

The rest is just marketing BS and dealers being bully's

Wish you had a shop around here! You would clean up.

Elza
September 4, 2008, 10:32 AM
Give me a copy of some ones license and a few minutes with Photoshop. I could put any name and address I wanted on it. He would not have a clue unless something went afoul and the ATF checked it out. It would be his license, his number, but a different name and address. There would be no explaining this to the ATF. It would end his gun dealing days forever. This is why dealers are getting twitchy and with good reason.

Drgong
September 4, 2008, 11:00 AM
No problem up here, just walk in, get a copy, and away you go.

$20 transfers too ;)

Henry Bowman
September 4, 2008, 11:11 AM
I send a copy only to another FFL, so I inform them of that. * * * When the buyer refuses, I figure they were up to no good. So my bying from a private seller makes me "up to no good?"

I could put any name and address I wanted on it. He would not have a clue unless something went afoul and the ATF checked it out. It would be his license, his number, but a different name and address. There would be no explaining this to the ATF. It would end his gun dealing days forever.If the shipper doesn't verify the FFL copy before shipping, they (the shipper) are the one in trouble.

Like it is an ATF regulation to only take transfer from other FFLs. That one annoys me to no end.

ATF requires each gun to go out the door with a gun lock installed and they will be happy to sell you one if you don't bring one with you. That part is true, if it's a handgun. Not an "ATF requirement;" it's the law. Doesn't have to be "installed," but has to be "delivered" with the handgun.

Lashlarue
September 4, 2008, 11:20 AM
My ffl will either fax or hand you a copy of his ffl for purchases.Seems like a lot of trouble to go to jail. The ffl on the other end can verify the info on the ffl and that gets you , no gun and a visit from the BATF....

Drgong
September 4, 2008, 11:23 AM
It is up to the sender to verify, if someone modifies a FFL copy and trys to get it shipped to himself, the only FFL that might get in trouble is the sender.

nalioth
September 4, 2008, 01:03 PM
It still puzzles me why some FFL holders will only accept from other FFLs. This protects nobody, as no FFL holder is required to run serial numbers on guns they take in.

You have crooked FFL holders out there, too ( don't kid yourself thinking otherwise - people are people ).

contenderman
September 4, 2008, 02:40 PM
Yes, licenses can be doctored/faked with today's technology. But, the BATFE database is a different matter. The address on the faked license will not match what is in the database.

The selling/transferring FFL has an obligation to verify the receiving FFL and that is where the EZCheck comes in. You see something that don't jibe, you don't ship and you do contact the BATFE.

If you don't take these steps then you are being negligent and will eventually get the BATFE on your back.

Private individuals sending a gun to an FFL is another matter. Short of having a "friend" in law enforcement an FFL can not run a S/N check. So stolen guns can end up with an FFL and be transferred between FFL's w/o their being any the wiser. FFL record keeping is essentially the only way to cover this aspect. And that is why many FFL's will not accept guns from private parties, unless that party is local and comes into the store with proper ID for the record book.

By doing this the FFL "chain" will get to the point where the stolen itme entered and the person putting it in will be identified. From there it is straight law enforcement to track them down.

Now someone out there, don't start w/ the ID could be fake ... nothing is 100% and probably never will be ... you just do legally recognized "due diligence" and in doing that you minimize your risk.

And ... yes there are other in shop tricks to help out on the ID side, and NO I'm not going to list them out. Many/most of you that are FFLs will know some if not all of them.

waterhouse
September 4, 2008, 03:28 PM
It still puzzles me why some FFL holders will only accept from other FFLs. This protects nobody, as no FFL holder is required to run serial numbers on guns they take in.

The main reason that I can think of is that dealers (in general, there are exceptions) include a copy of their license with the gun shipment, which means the receiving dealer can log it in.

A lot of non dealers (again, not all, some people do it perfectly) do not include any information with the gun they are sending in. No name, no address, no nothin'. Even after specifically telling them to include this information some people don't include it. A lot of times they send from their work shipping department, which means the return address on the box doesn't work for logging the gun in.

I can't think of any reason not to accept from non-FFLs as long as the sender includes the necessary information, but it so frequently happens that they don't. A lot of dealers I have spoken to have started only accepting from FFLs because of this.

Griz44
September 4, 2008, 07:04 PM
No Henry, I did not say I had an issue receiving a gun from an individual. I said I would not send a copy of my FFL to an individual. If that person is buying a gun, then he is not selling or sending a gun to me is he? See the difference? I don't have any issues receiving a firearm from an individual. If I am receiving a gun from an individual, then that's a whole different story. If they want to verify my license before sending to me, which I strongly urge everyone to do, I give them the "short" version with the center id numbers gone that anyone with a computer can check on the EZCHECK ATF website. They then know that the name, address and license are good. 50 bucks for a transfer? Anyone here that charges $50 for a transfer does no business. My max is 20 bucks, less for repeat customers once I have them on file. Being careful does not make a conscientious dealer a target for the BS comment, it just makes him/her a careful dealer. Most individuals sending a handgun would be many dollars better off taking that gun to a dealer and having it sent USPS anyway. UPS charges outrageous prices for overnight shipping of handguns, I have heard of charges over a hundred dollars. A dealer can send a handgun via USPS for 17-20 dollars, including insurance..... If someone brings a gun to me for shipping, I log it in and out, verify the serial number and charge the customer 5 or 10 bucks. Sometimes I have to wait 10 or 15 minutes for the FAX to come in from the addressee, during which time I get to visit and have a pleasant conversation with a fellow gun owner.

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