DAWSON CREEK -- A Dawson Creek senior is fighting to prove his innocence after his identity being stolen led to victims being scammed out of thousands of dollars in fraudulent firearm transactions.

John Rempel has been a gunsmith in Dawson Creek since 1985 and was looking to purchase a firearm for sale online from a seller who claimed to be in Ontario.

The two arranged for the sale, and as part of the transaction, sellers must verify the owner’s identity and that their Possession and Acquisition Licence is active via the Canadian Firearms Program online or by phone.

Rempel sent the seller photos of his driver’s license, PAL information, and payment.

The seller then went dark, deleted their interaction, and left Rempel with nothing more than a phone number.

Rempel then received word from the RCMP over allegations of fraud after one of the victims reported that they sent money for a Browning shotgun they never received.

It is alleged the seller took on Rempel’s identity, posing as him to set-up fraudulent transactions using a fake email account in his name, scamming four people out of thousands of dollars with fake ads and stock photos of firearms.

Rempel was brought in for questioning by the RCMP in a process he described as 'guilty until proven innocent.'

He says the whole ordeal has made him sick and has since had to replace his identification and debit cards.

Rempel, in his 70s, is now warning consumers to be careful about what information you put on the internet.

“‘It’s not the money, that has nothing to do with it, the fact that you’ve been discredited-- how do you get that back?” Questioned Rempel.

The alleged identity thief is also being described as savvy by the owner of Corlane Sporting Goods in Dawson Creek.

“He’s had the forethought to go ahead and come up with my name and company name as a reference—and I probably know John because he’s a gunsmith in the area,” said Tim Schram.

Schram released a video on social media warning people to watch out, after both his and company name were being used as a personal reference in the transactions— unbeknownst to Rempel, who said he never disclosed the information or nature of their relationship.

“Do not buy a gun form this person posing to be John Rempel that has guns for sale in Canada,” said Schram in a video posted to Facebook.

Schram says he has known Rempel for over 30 years, and claims the whole situation has 'rocked his world' and has had a significant impact on his health.

When asked what he would tell the alleged identity thief, Schram said, “I encourage you to come shake my hand one day.”

RCMP has warned of an uptick in identity thefts and cyber crime, and is telling residents to be vigilant when conducting online transactions.