Every once in a while, we’ll come across an article we think is worth sharing. Jan Erhardt and Pam Crawford on our team help lots of buyers and sellers with farm and ranch property. Some of them are new to the equine business.
Our friends at MyHorseForSale.com recently published an article about on-line scams regrading the purchase and selling of horses. While this article was written with regards to equine transactions, many of the tips are common sense that can apply to any large ticket on line purchase.
I’ll post a link to the full article at the bottom.
While the Internet has made it easier to transact with people far from you, it has also led to an increase in scams, especially in the horse for sale space. At MyHorseForSale.com we see all kinds of horse for sale scams from both buyers and sellers and we’ll share the most common trait of these scams.
It’s important to understand the mindset of scammers. Many scammers are really just opportunists who are trying to make a quick buck. Hiding behind their screens, these scammers try to attract unsuspecting shoppers with good-to-be-true deals. Then they have a short window to close these deals to make that quick buck. If you don’t get anything else from this article, just remember to take your time when buying a horse.
#1: Location Sudden Change
The first scam is where the seller suddenly changes the location of the horse when you contact them. For example, the seller may have Houston Texas listed as the location of the horse but when you contact him, he tells you that the horse is in Toledo, Ohio. This is a classic move where the scammer wants to “ship” you the horse and all you have to do is pay a small fee. If a seller changes the location on you, you need to keep searching other horse for sale deals.
#2: Google Phone Numbers
This scam has become popular just in the last year. The scammer wants to hide his identity so instead of using their own phone number, they’ll sign up for a free number from Google Phone or other web IP phones. The way you can tell it’s this type of phone is when you call, you’re immediately asked to say your name so you can be directed. A genuine horse seller will list their mobile number or landline that they can respond to quickly.
You should also look out for horse sellers that only want to text. As you can imagine, there are so many questions that you need to ask before you commit to buy a horse and it’ll be almost impossible to text all this information. Texting provides a great buffer with the scammer, which is why scammers prefer it. Insist on talking to the seller or even do a video chat if they’re not close to you.
#3: The Price Is Too Good (Salting The Mine)
Horses for sale for under $2000 may sound like a good deal but you need to tread carefully. For starters, some breeds such as Friesians, Warmbloods, and Gypsy Vanners are just not going for under $5,000. Scammers lure horse buyers who feel like they just got a diamond in the rough in the form of a great horse for sale deal. Even if you can purchase a Friesian for $5,000, other upkeep costs will just be too costly for many people. Don’t fall for this too-good-to-be-true scam.
#4: Deposit Check & Send Balance
A potential horse buyer wants to quickly pay you for your horse by sending you a check that is more than you asked for and then you, in turn, send the balance. This is one scam that can easily get you in trouble because you may be participating in bank fraud. If someone offers you more money than you asked, it’s a sign you are being scammed. Insist on other forms of payment such as a bank check which is easily verifiable.
#5: Paypal Scam
Horse sellers that accept only Paypal or other online options that cannot be easily tracked may be running a scam. On the other hand, potential buyers who ask about Paypal very early on could be planning to scam you. Paypal has been especially difficult to deal with especially where they detect fraud so you’re better off with local payment options.
#6: Poor Grammar/Spellings
When looking at horse for sale ads, always pay attention to the attributes of the horse and the description presented because we’ve found that scam ads have weird grammar that you can easily pick up on. The description doesn’t have to use perfect grammar but if you see excessive use of punctuation, indentation or sentences that don’t make sense then it could be a scam ad.
#7: Always Ask For More Photos
Another scam that goes around is where a scammer copies a horse ad from one site and posts it to another site. By asking for more photos and videos, you can easily figure out if the buyer has the horse or not. Nowadays most phones have cameras that can take a decent video so you should insist on one.
When dealing online, be aware that not everyone has the best intentions. As a matter of fact, the internet provides a cover that makes people behave dishonestly. Look out for the scams mentioned here and take your time when looking for your next horse. Buying a horse is an important decision that should not be rushed.
Reprinted from MyHorseForSale.com. Click here for full article.