Horse buyers are being warmed about fraudulent ‘for sale’ adverts online after a number of victims lost thousands of pounds to international cyber criminals.
Fraudsters are placing fake adverts on reputable equestrian sale websites to scam victims out of large amounts of money. They’ll even support their claims of the horse’s existence by supplying copies of relevant ownership documents, pictures and videos of the animal.
Although the adverts claim the horses are located in the UK, victims are later told that they’re located elsewhere in Europe and that the horse’s shipment can be arranged via a transport company.
On agreeing to buy the horse, victims are then contacted by someone who claims to be an agent of the transport company, who asks them to pay the purchase price and shipping costs of the animal either by money transfer or a direct transfer of funds into a nominated bank account.
In some cases, victims are contacted about problems with the horse’s delivery, such as the need for vaccinations, special insurance or costs arising from veterinary fees and requests are made to cover these costs.
Head of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith, said: “With such large amounts of money involved, this type of fraud can have a significant and severe impact on the health and wellbeing of victims.
“If you are looking to buy a horse online, it is vital that you thoroughly check the details of where you are making the purchase from and be sure to follow our advice below.
“We urge those who think they have been a victim of fraud to report this to Action Fraud.”