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Internet Fraud Alert


Information on buying & selling safely on the internet, courtesy of http://www.equine.com 


SELLERS BEWARE:  There is a new kind of internet fraud in practice. It has become common on horse classified ad sites in general and we wanted to make our users aware of it:

A potential buyer, may claim to be in Africa, contacts you to buy a horse, saddle, or tack. They then say a friend in the US owes them money and can this friend send you a cashier's check.  Often the cashier's check will be over the price of your horse/saddle/tack. The buyer then asks you to wire transfer him the remaining funds in Africa. Another friend who is a "reliable shipper" will come and pick up the goods/horses.  The problem is the cashier's check is counterfeit.  We have also heard of the goods being directly shipped out of the country and the buyer asks for the refund of the shipping charges as a "finders' fee."  The fraudulent cashier's check is not usually discovered by the bank till weeks after the goods have been sent.  The seller is then left with their personal funds lost to the fraudulent buyer and sometimes their goods lost as well.

The use of escrows services is recommended for all buyers and sellers.  For any transaction both parties should draft an agreement regarding payment and refund terms as well as have as much contact information on each other as possible.  Just remember if the transaction sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

For U.S. complaints, use the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Complaint Form. https://rn.ftc.gov/dod/wsolcq$.startup?Z_ORG_CODE=PU01

For Canadian Complaints contact the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/scams/scams.htm

We also recommend notifying the Internet Fraud Complaint Center: http://www1.ifccfbi.gov/index.asp 

To help you in recognizing these types of scams, we have provided below a list of indicators. They are only guidelines, and as always, should be tempered with common sense.

- Big Promises
Claims such as offering more money than the asking price without an initial conversation regarding the horse are almost always a sure sign of a scam. Be careful of any individual who wants to send you more money than you are asking for.

- High Pressure Tactics
Be wary of individuals asking you to speed up the transaction beyond your comfort range. Again, a legitimate deal probably is not going to move as fast as your money. Don\'t let yourself be pressured -- think things through.

- Requests for financial information.
Donít give out any bank information without establishing a comfort level with the buyer or seller.

- Always get something in writing.
You should never complete a transaction without first writing down the terms of the deal and have each party sign it. If you canít afford a lawyer to draft up a contract, you still should write down the terms of the deal in plain English and get it signed.  Any buyer or seller that is hesitant or resists is usually a sure sign of a potential problem.

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