Scam Alert - Keeping Our Users Informed and Safe
We are constantly monitoring the site for scammers. Our goal is to remove scam ads within 24 hours of posting. Some scammers may post innocent looking ads and then try to convince buyers that they are an "Equine.com agent". We never have and never will be part of your purchase transaction, we sell classified ads and do NOT provide financial services of any kind. Another term you might hear is “Safe Harbor Agent”. We are not a “safe harbor” company or agent, and have nothing to do with any transactions outside of sellers purchasing a classified ad with photos to list on our site.
Here are some helpful tips when evaluating ads. The most important thing remember is that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you do encounter a scammer, you can send the information to us at [email protected]. We archive all of our ads and messages and we work with all law enforcement agencies to provide any information needed that may help stop these scammers.
Currently Common Scams:
There are three basic common scams that are currently being attempted on many horse classified sites. These scams all have one thing in common – they are offering something at thousands of dollars below market value and always have an excuse as to why. Examples include: “My sister is sick and I am selling the horse for her very cheap to get rid of it.” Another one is “We just want the horse to go for free to a good home, but to be safe we want you to use OUR transportation company, we’ll send you an airbill.”
“The Friesian Scam” – This is one of the most popular horse scams currently circulating internet classified websites. The seller is always offering a very expensive breed of horse for anywhere from $1000 to free. Common other breeds used are Gypsy Vanners, American Walking Ponies, various Warmblood breeds, and others. They specifically target more expensive breeds and make the buyer think they are getting something at a steal of a price. Common terms used in their ads for these types of scams are: “Loving horse for adoption”, “Friendly horse for rehoming”, and frequent mentions in the description about the horse having had all of his shots and friendly for family use. When you see an ad of this nature, please email us and we will assess whether the ad is indeed valid, and remove the ad if it is found to be fraudulent.
For many of the horse scam ads, what the scammer does is copy someone’s legitimate classified ad and then just change the price to free or ~$800. Beware if they want to rush a sale as quickly as possible – this is a big tip-off that you might be dealing with a scammer.
“The Transportation Scam” – This scam often goes hand-in-hand with The Friesian Scam. Here, the seller is giving away a horse for free with some excuse as to the reason. Because they “care so much about the horse”, they will give you the horse, but require you to use their shipping or transportation company. They will send you a fake airbill or transportation invoice, with instructions for you to wire the money via Western Union or MoneyGram for several thousand dollars.
Many people fall for this scam because they think they’re getting a $10,000 horse for just the $2,000 cost to ship. In reality, there never was a horse for sale, and that victim is out $2,000.
“The Trailer Scam” – Beware of newer model year trailers for sale at thousands below market value. No matter what the excuse, most of the time it’s a scam. We recommend to always view the trailer in person if possible. The scammers rarely have possession of the trailer, they operate by stealing another seller’s photos and try to get you to send them money sight unseen. Sadly, it’s quite common and many people fall for it. This also falls under the old adage, “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”
When Viewing an Ad, Use Caution If:
- The price is too low. The most common mark of a scam ad is a trailer or horse priced far below market value. A new trailer with living quarters priced at $5,000 could very possibly be a scam. A Friesian horse normally worth $15,000 that is selling for $900, is generally also a scam.
- The ad has an invalid phone number, or one that goes to a fax machine or other business.
- The photos list an email address or other strange text such as “not sold on Ebay”.
- The city listed is not a valid city for that state. Examples such as “Utah, Utah”, “Chennai, Texas”, etc.
- There is an email address directly on the ad, in the "Message from Seller" with no other description.
- The information on the ad does not match the photos. Example, a trailer listed in Phoenix but the photos show a trailer in a green grass lot with a forest.
When a Buyer or Seller Contacts You, Beware If:
- They claim to be from out of the country and is using Equine.com or another 3rd party such as eBay motors to complete the transactions.
- They want to use an "Equine.com approved agent" to handle finances. Equine.com does NOT get in the middle of any transactions nor do we ever have any “agents” that work for us.
- Seller states that they will only accept Western Union or MoneyGram payments. ALWAYS beware of a transaction going through Western Union or MoneyGram, as you have no recourse if your money is lost.
- Seller will not answer specific questions but wants to discuss a method of payment immediately.
- Buyer or Seller uses poor spelling and grammar. Many scams are run from Nigeria, parts of Africa, or other non-English speaking countries.
- Buyer claims to be a broker and promises more money than your item and wishes some returned for his commission and the rest you keep.
- Heavy accents over the phone using poor English. Many of these scammers work from call centers in countries such as Nigeria and Lagos, and have very thick accents.
What to Do if You Think You’ve Been Scammed:
- Contact us at [email protected] so we can pull the ad immediately. Please provide a link to the ad itself, or the seller’s username.
- http://www.IC3.gov is a government-regulated agency that handles fraud across the Internet. Be sure to file a complaint with them so they can investigate the matter.
- We will work w/state and federal organizations by providing them the necessary information to help your case.