Avoiding online scams: Advice for buyers

While most sellers are genuine, if you are looking to buy an item online including a horse you are at risk of being targeted by online scammers, who can sound extremely legitimate.

Below are a few of the most common scams to look out for and how to protect yourself from being caught out.

  • Don’t pay up front without viewing

You see a horse advertised for sale that is significantly cheaper than others of a similar age and condition.

When you contact the seller, they claim they are out of the country/in hospital/working away, which means you are not able to view it in person. They offer instead to organise for delivery to you if you send them the money and promise you a full refund if you are not happy with it.
They may suggest you pay via an escrow account such as PayPal, Amazon Payments or Google Wallet ‘for protection’ saying the money will be held here until you confirm you are happy with the deal.

Don’t be caught out by these scams no matter how legitimate the excuse may sound or how tempting the deal is.
The scammer doesn’t have the item they are advertising – they are simply going to take your money and leave you without your money or the item.


  • Don’t buy a horse without trying it yourself

You’ve seen a horse advertised what appears to be everything you are looking for and is appropriately priced (or it may be priced cheaply for what it is). 

When you speak to the seller they say they’ve had loads of interest and the only way for you to secure the horse is to give them a deposit or even pay the whole value of the horse up front without having viewed or tried the horse in person.


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