Advertisers please be aware:
Unfortunately advertising relatively high value items online such as horses and equipment can occasionally attract attention from the wrong sort of buyers.
A common scam that is increasingly targeting equestrian advertisers is the ‘overpayment’ scam.
Typically, this is where a bogus buyer contacts advertisers enquiring after the horse or item, the buyer is often based abroad so unable to meet the advertiser in person. The bogus buyer will agree to the purchase, sending a cheque of a much higher value than the agreed price. Using various excuses the bogus buyer will then ask the advertiser to pay back the excess. In the past they have asked advertiser to send the additional funds to a ‘transporter’, or requests that the advertiser refunds them in cash on collection, or via an online transfer prior to collection.
This scam hinges on advertisers not realising that being told funds available by your bank is very different from having the cheque cleared. The actual cheque clearing process can take weeks, after which the bank will claim the whole sum back because the cheque is fake. If the advertisers has already paid the excess sum back or transferred it to a third party, nothing can be done and the advertiser is now severely out of pocket.
The warning signs
- Nearly always advertisrs are contacted by email, which are often written in poor English
- The bogus buyer is usually out of the country
- Payment is nearly always made by cheque
What can you do?
Unfortunately these scams are increasingly difficult to police. However you can report it quickly and easily at www.actionfraud.police.uk or alternatively call their helpline on 0300 123 2040.
- Be vigilant
- Trust your instincts, they’re nearly always right!
- Always make sure you know that any funds paid into your account are irrevocable before making a refund
- Always exercise caution when corresponding with potential buyers, especially if they are based abroad
- Never feel pressured into a sale or transaction
- Never be afraid to contact the HorseQuest team if you feel that something just isn’t right about an enquiry
- Remember that the vast majority of buyers are legitimate but it pays to be informed.
Here's a picture of one scam that has been doing the rounds recently