December 17, 2015 12:30 pm

Calgary criminals using fake firearm sale ads to buy guns illegally: police

File: A .357 Magnum and a smaller firearm.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
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CALGARY – Police are alerting Calgarians looking to purchasing firearms to be aware of fraudsters.

The warning comes after officers were alerted to two separate cases in which potential buyers were almost scammed out of their money during bogus sales.

Investigators said the victims had spoken to sellers over the phone in response to online ads for firearms.

In both cases, the sellers asked to be paid by an e-transfer, and asked for the victims’ Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL) number.

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“When the e-transfers took place, the banks notified the buyers the accounts were fraudulent and the e-transfers were stopped before money could be lost,” said police in a Thursday news release.

Investigators believe the fraudsters were gathering information from potential buyers, specifically their PAL numbers, to illegally purchase guns.

Anyone who believes their PAL number has been compromised is asked to call the National Weapons Enforcement Support Team (NWEST) at 403-428-8042 or 403-428-8043.

Tips for buying and selling firearms

If you are selling a firearm, check with the Canadian Firearms Centre to determine if a PAL is flagged by calling 1-800-731-4000.

If you are buying a firearm, ensure you have verified the seller before you provide any personal information, including your PAL number.

Here are a few guidelines to follow:

  • Ensure you are using a reputable website
  • Watch for multiple ads featuring the same photo and/or phone number. They may use different names on the ads, but the phone numbers are usually the same
  • Don’t be rushed by a seller. If they are pressuring you for a quick sale, there is often a reason
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