Selling items online is both hugely popular and typically very convenient. Whether it’s a horse, horsebox, tack, clothing or equipment, can help you quickly find a buyer.

But while most buyers are genuine, if you are selling an item online 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.

1. Don’t give your payment details to some who calls you

You have booked a website or magazine advert either over the phone or online, then you receive a call from a person who claims to be from that company saying that your payment hasn’t gone through.

The person on the other end of call may sound very professional and even use the name of a real member of staff. They may claim the problem was at the company’s end and say that if you don’t pay now, your advert will miss the deadline for publication.

In instances such as this NEVER SHARE YOUR PAYMENT DETAILS, regardless of how much information a caller may claim to have about you or your advert.

If you receive a call like this, end the call, then ring the company’s office and a member of staff will be able to tell you if there is an issue with your advert.

2. Don’t click on login links in emails

You receive an email that asks you to login into your online account via a link, or to confirm your account details.

The email may appear to come from an address that you believe is correct for that company, but this cannot be trusted to be the case.

Do not reply to this email or click on the link. This may take you to a fake website that is designed to steal your personal information.

3. Requests to buy an item without viewing

You receive an email in response to an online advert you have placed in which the potential buyer commonly offers you full price for the item.

Typically these emails are written in poor or broken English and include terms like ‘final price’ or ‘best price’ in them.

The ‘buyer’ won’t want to see the item, but will offer to send you a cheque or bankers draft for more than the amount you are asking and ask you to send the rest on to their agent, who will be collecting the item for them.

This scam is designed to exhort money out of you as the payment will appear to clear, but then be declined later, leaving your without the money or your item.

Top tips to avoid being hit by a scam

  • Always be alert
  • If something seems too good to be true, it usually is
  • Use your common sense; if the email doesn’t fit the expected process of selling a horse/horsebox, then do not proceed with the sale
  • Don’t give out your personal or bank account information to someone who has called you
  • Be wary of offers to buy your horse or horsebox in the first email. Would you buy a horse or horsebox without seeing it? We all know that this doesn’t happen in real life.
  • Be wary of anyone asking for bank details in the first email in order to make a payment.
  • Always trade face-to-face
  • If you are selling a vehicle, do not allow the potential buyer to test drive it without you remaining in the vehicle
  • Do not allow the horse, horsebox or other item to leave your possession until you have received cleared funds in your account

The Horse & Hound Buy & Sell website brings people selling a horse or horsebox together with people who want to buy one. We will always recommend that once the introduction has been made, you conduct the rest of the sale face-to-face. Don’t part with your horse/horsebox without meeting the buyer in person.

If you have a concern regarding an approach which has been made regarding an advert you have with Horse & Hound, please contact us on 0800 316 5450.