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Avoid Scam When Buying & Selling Horses Online

Jul 17, 2008
Internet fraud is prevalent everywhere and the horse industry is no exception. If you can avoid selling your horse over the internet, do so. But if the Internet is your only option or you chose to buy/sell your horse or tack on-line be aware of the following inherent obstacles.

Dubbed the Nigerian Letter Scam, it has been used in the sale of large ticket items including horses, cars, and motorcycles. The current activity noted by horse-related websites comes in different variations from foreigners in Nigeria, Africa, London, and Hong Kong seeking to buy purchase horses, frozen semen, or horse-related equipment. A third party representing a potential buyer in one of the aforementioned countries will attempt to purchase a horse using a Cashiers Check to cover the price of the horse and their shipping costs. After the horse is shipped, the third party asks you to refund the shipping charges as part of a 'finders' fee" arrangement. Or they may also send you a check over the amount of the purchase price and ask for a refund of the difference. Unfortunately the cashiers check is counterfeit. Many sellers don't find this out until the horse is gone and your money has been forwarded to the scam artists.

Potential buyers/sellers watch for the following:

* The emails come from free web-based accounts written in poor English, riddled with misspellings and often too familiar and friendly in tone.

* If the party makes big promises, such as offering to pay more then the asking price without first making contact to talk about the horse, it usually a scam. Be careful of anyone who wants to send you more then your asking price.

* Beware if an individual tries to speed up the transaction beyond your comfort range. A legitimate deal isn't going to move as fast as your money. Think things through and don't let yourself feel pressured.

* If they ask for bank information, don't give out financial information including personal account numbers without first establishing a comfort level with the buyer or seller. The European e-mails do try to establish a comfort level, but it's a bit false. If you suspect anything dishonest don't give out any information.

Take the following precautions:

Never complete a transaction without some sort of contract. Retain a lawyer to draft a contract and represent you, but if you can't afford one, the terms of the deal should be written and signed in English by both parties. A buyer or seller that resists or is hesitant is usually a strong sign of a potential problem. To avoid further problems, it's best to use a law office that specializes in equine business issues, such as Equine Legal Solutions in San Jose, California.

If you're buying or selling a horse, make sure you get a pre-purchase exam on the horse considered for purchase by the buyer's Veterinarian of choice. One customer who ships horses outside the USA came up with a solution. She requested that all horses be paid for in cash or by bank transfer - no checks, credit cards, money orders or cashiers checks. If they want to pay using anything other then cash, the horse stays at her place at their expense. The horse wasn't allowed to leave her property until the bank confirms all the funds are there. It worked. She never heard back from potential scammers.

And finally, keep in mind the internet is a service provider of online classified advertising, not a dealer, agent or broker. They are not involved in the actual transaction between buyers and sellers and accept no liability for any type of dispute or fraud. http://www.HorseClicks.com for example, does its best to educate both buyer and seller about fraudulent activity. They intercept, report and record all contacts that seem suspicious and protect your email address from public display. All internet sites may not take the same precautions, so contact other sites if you think there's an issue.

If you think the potential party is not legitimate or if you suspect you've been scammed, contact the Internet Fraud Complaint Center or your local FBI office.
About the Author
Edna X Wilson is a writer for www.HorseClicks.com, popular classifieds of horses for sale, horse trailers, farms for sale.
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