If you are involved in the horse world, eventually you will make some pretty big purchases and sales. Horses, saddles, tack… they all go for hefty amounts of money. And while most of those purchases and sales will go fine, there are, unfortunately, some common scams that circulate in the horse world that you should be aware of. Here are a few of the most common.

The Nigerian Scam

Many scams in the horse world are based off of the Nigerian scam. Here’s how it works. Let’s say that you’re selling a saddle for $1,000. The buyer is located in another state, and sends you payment by check. However, they send you a payment that’s significantly more than your asking price. The buyer typically comes up with a reason for why the check issued was so large, and asks you to refund them the difference and to mail them the saddle. After depositing the check into your bank account, you write the seller a check for the difference and mail it to them with the saddle.

The problem comes in when, a few weeks later, you discover that the check that you originally received as payment for the saddle was fake or has bounced. You are now out of the money that you refunded the buyer, as well as the saddle. The buyer disappears and cuts off all communication.

There are variations on this scam, but a good rule of thumb is to never accept checks or money orders in excess of your asking price, and to insist on holding the item until the payment has fully cleared your bank.

Trailer Scams

Another popular scam involves horse trailers. You may find a trailer advertised for sale at a super steal of a price. Generally the trailer will be located in another state, and it will look like a great deal. The seller will offer to ship it, and will ask for prompt payment because of the great interest in the trailer. You may send a check or money order, and then you’ll never hear from the seller again.

In this scam, that actual trailer never existed. The scammer steals pictures of a trailer from another ad and advertises the trailer as being their own. Once they have your money, they run. Some people try to sell fake horses in a variation of this trailer scam.

Tips to Avoid Scams

  1. Never purchase an item sight-unseen.
  2. Research the person you are buying an item from – a simple Google search can often reveal if other buyers have been displeased.
  3. Accept only payments via cash or Paypal. If you choose to accept checks or money orders, then insist on holding the item until the payment has cleared the bank.
  4. Ask specific questions about an item – if a seller cannot answer them, be suspicious.
  5. Don’t allow a seller to pressure you into a fast purchase – take your time in making your decision.

If you do encounter a scam, keep all of your information and contact your local police immediately. Hopefully you’ll never encounter a scam in the horse world. But if you do, knowing the common scams can help you to recognize the issue before you lose money in the deal. And remember, if a deal seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

Original Sources: Scams to Avoid in the Horse World

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