A Nottinghamshire rider is warning H&H readers to beware of online trailer scams after she nearly lost £2,400 when trying to buy a secondhand Equitrek M trailer earlier this month (14 May).
Michelle Roe told H&H her daughter, Ellecia, 18, was buying the trailer to enable her and sister, Phoebe, to travel to competitions further afield.
The family found the Equitrek M they were after on Horsemart and emailed the Leeds-based female seller asking for more details.
“She said she didn’t want to meet us because her husband had just died,” said Ellecia. “The women suggested we go through eBay and said the money would be held in an account until I had seen the trailer and accepted it.”
The Roes only realised the eBay account was not legitimate when they tried to contact the seller after they had paid, and the emails kept being returned.
Ellecia called NatWest straight away. The bank was able to freeze the seller’s account as it was also held with NatWest. “The person had spent £200 but we got the rest of the money back,” Ellecia told H&H.
The family have reported the fraud to the police and it is being investigated.
“This is a very clever scam, we feel totally violated and have had to change all our bank details. It’s been a nightmare,” said Michelle.
Ellecia added: “We have spotted three other ads since then on Horsemart that didn’t seem legitimate, alerted them and they were taken off.”
Paul Davies from Horsemart said: “We take scams very seriously and take them down straight away.”
The company has automated tools to identify and remove scammers and stop them re-registering.
It is investing “heavily” in building a new modernation system to give every advert a score; over a medium score and the ad goes into manual moderation, a high score and it is rejected. Scores are assigned by keywords, countries, users, phone numbers and I.P addresses and other tools.
A spokesman for eBay said: “Fraudsters use very sophisticated methods to try and emulate trusted websites, which is why it is so important to remember that any transaction not completed on the eBay platform, including a transaction where a customer follows instructions or a link on an email and sends money to a bank account, is not an eBay transaction.”
eBay warns buyers to be wary of sellers who ask for downpayments, push for speedy completion or refuse to allow the buyer to inspect the purchase beforehand.