Horse owners warned against fraudulent lorry adverts

  • Fraudsters are continuing to target horse owners with adverts for non-existent lorries. Some have come close to being duped, despite warnings in H&H.

    In October, H&H reported that Leicestershire-based rider Susan Bromell had been conned out of £4,200 by a fake listing for an Equi-Trek Show Treka trailer on eBay.

    And earlier this month, Sue Harty from Attleborough, Norfolk, came close to parting with £3,500 for a newly built 3.5tonne Renault horsebox advertised on the Horsemart website.

    The lorry had been built by the North Yorks firm AJ Horseboxes and was on its website for £22,995. It appears that the fraudster had lifted the description and photos from the site.

    “It was a lovely looking box, although it did seem too good to be true [at that price],” said Ms Harty.

    “But he had a very plausible back story; he had just got divorced and moved to Ireland. Sometimes real bargains do turn up and you don’t want to miss out,” she added.

    She exchanged a number of emails with the bogus seller and agreed to pay £3,500 to his payment collection company, with the proviso that the lorry would arrive a few days later. But Ms Harty became suspicious when she noticed a website sticker for AJ Horseboxes in a photo.

    A phone call to the company confirmed her suspicions and she pulled out of the sale.

    Kellie Johnson of AJ Horseboxes told H&H that Ms Harty was one of several people to contact her, after growing suspicious of the fraudulent advert.

    “We were angry and frustrated, and worried that it would devalue the box, because he [the conman] was giving a false impression that you can buy that sort of lorry for £3,500,” she said.

    Police and Trading Standards are now investigating and Horsemart has removed the ad from its website.

    But similar adverts for trailers continue to be listed on eBay and, in December, H&H pulled an advert for an Equi Sonic horsebox from its own classifieds, after it transpired that the seller was bogus.

    For advice on how to protect yourself from online crime, contact Action Fraud, tel: 0300 123 2040 or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk

    This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (24 January 2013)

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