American Rifleman | Web-Based Scams Target Firearm Industry Retailers, Buyers
by Guy J. Sagi –
Thursday March 25, 2021
A striking warning on your first visit to the SIG Sauer website home page reminds firearms enthusiasts that the increased demand for weapons, ammunition and accessories has attracted unwanted attention from some with less than honorable intentions. It says: “SIG Sauer has been made aware of several fraudulent websites claiming to sell SIG Sauer products.”
“The following websites are NOT authorized retailers or distributors of SIG Sauer firearms and in some cases fraud – www.sigsauerstore247.com, www.sigsauerpistols.org, www.ssgundeals.com, www.sigsauerarms.com, www.SigSauerBroker.com. “
The notice will not be displayed on the second or subsequent visit to the website. This is likely a side effect of reducing browser cookies. American Rifleman contacted SIG Sauer and confirmed the warning was legitimate. Other firearms companies are also suffering from the increase in unauthorized activity, a by-product of the industry’s increasing financial clout and widespread demand for their products.
An “Economic Impact Report 2021 of the Firearms and Ammunition Industry” published by the National Shooting Sports Foundation last week offers a perspective for the growth of arms manufacturing and sales. It is said that the industry’s economic impact increased 232 percent from 2008 to 2019. Even in 2020, when most sectors experienced a significant downturn, the arms industry grew by $ 3.5 billion and added 10,000 jobs. The results contrast sharply with the rise in unemployment during the pandemic.
Online scams and websites hosting malware are nothing new, but news reports and official warnings have increased significantly over the past year as consumers turned to keyboards to shop. In October, News4SA, a Texas-based NBC member, reported on the case of a fraudulent gun buyer, warning: “Cyber criminals target items that are currently trending, anything personal protective equipment (PPE) related to, even guns and ammunition. “
In November, THV11, an Arkansas CBS partner, told viewers, “Suspicious ads on websites are also a problem because they redirect people to websites that look real. But in reality, you might be buying something that will never show up. “
Jessica Franklin, spokeswoman for the FBI’s Little Rock, AR, told the reporter, “If you see an ad online, make sure you’re redirected to a verified website.” She estimated that in 2019 – before the exponential surge in online shopping caused by the pandemic – web-based scammers had fraudulently collected $ 22 million from Arkansas residents alone.