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How To Avoid Online Scams

First things first, whether you're buying or selling on, please be aware and avoid any deal/offer that looks suspicious. At HorseClicks, we’re continuously working to prevent scammers operating on-site, however, we cannot be held responsible for the accuracy or legitimacy of any Ad, or the validity of any buyer.

HorseClicks does not tolerate scammers and will instantly revoke access from the HorseClicks site. Horseclicks also has a number of automated tools that identify and remove scammers as well as stopping their re-registration. If you believe you have been contacted by a scammer, or have found non-legitimate ad please email:

Warning Signs - If you’re the buyer

  • The scammer will try and communicate with you outside of the website, for example, Whatsapp or even through email. (sometimes completely different to the address on the advert).   
  • The advert will be advertised at a very low price, often lower than comparable items advertised on the same and other websites.
  • The seller claims to be unavailable (e.g. they are travelling or have moved overseas) and insists on payment prior to arranging for viewing or delivery of the goods. 
  • The seller requests that you pay through international money transfers, cheques or direct bank transfers.
  • You receive a fake email receipt claiming to be from the website’s secure payment provider. 
  • When dealing with a rental property, the ‘landlord’ won’t allow you to view the property and will ask for bond, rent payments or deposits in advance.

How the scam works if you’re the Buyer

Fact is; scammers will attempt to pose as genuine sellers and post fake ads on classifieds websites. The ad can be for anything, such as rental properties, accommodation, pets, used cars, boats, bikes, caravans and horses. It may even include pictures and other details, often copied from a genuine seller’s ad. 

In order to lure a number of victims in a hurry, the scammer advertises the item at a low price, often much lower than comparable items advertised on the same site. 

When you show interest in the item, the scammer may claim that they are working elsewhere, travelling or have moved overseas and that an agent will deliver the goods following receipt of payment.  

In the case of rental properties, after you show interest, the scammer will make excuses as to why you cannot inspect the property, often claiming that they are away or currently overseas. If you are still interested, they will ask for bond, rent payments or deposits in advance. You will never receive the keys to the property and the scammer will disappear with your money. 

Scammers are quick to try and take you away from communicating through the website, they will try and lure you in using WhatsApp or even through email. (sometimes completely different to the address on the advert). 

Warning Signs - If you’re the seller 

  • The potential buyer is willing to purchase your item without having viewed it in person – even if you are selling an expensive item such as a trailer or horse.
  • A potential overseas buyer is interested in purchasing your item despite it being a commonly available item in their home country. Often the shipping costs would far outweigh the cost of the item itself. 
  • The buyer sends you a cheque for more than the agreed price and then asks you to refund the overpaid amount. (see below about protecting yourself).    

How the scam works if you’re the seller

If you are advertising your items for sale through the online classifieds, beware of scammers posing as genuine buyers. Scammers may make up stories such as needing your help to pay an agent or third party for upfront costs like transportation or insurance. They may promise you reimbursement for these costs.

Alternatively, the scammer may send a cheque for more money than the agreed sale price. The scammer will invent an excuse for the overpayment, such as to cover the fees of an agent or extra shipping costs, or that it was simply human error. The scammer will then ask you to refund the excess amount – usually through an online banking transfer, pre-loaded money card, or a wire transfer – before you discover that their cheque has bounced. 

A newer variation on this scam where the scammer pretends to have made a payment for a larger than agreed amount through services such as PayPal by sending a fake receipt of payment. The scammer will claim that the money is being held until you forward on the extra money.  

Example: They sent overpayment for saddle and wanted me to send that extra money by Walmart for some so called movers. They said she was relocating to this area. I did deposit the check but when I checked with the bank, the funds had been removed. Can’t be too careful. 

In both cases above, you will lose the money you gave the scammer, and if you have already sent the item you are selling, you will lose it as well. 

Protect Yourself 

  • If the advertised price looks too good to be true, it probably is. If you have any doubts, don't go ahead with the deal.
  • Do an internet search using the exact wording in the ad, many well-known scams can be found this way.
  • For expensive items, the safest option is to only pay the seller after you have inspected the item in person. Similarly, do not pay a deposit or any partial payments before you have inspected it.
  • Avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for up-front payment via money order, wire transfer, international funds transfer, pre-loaded card or electronic currency, like Bitcoin. It is rare to recover money sent this way. Never send money or give credit card or online account details to anyone you don’t know or trust. 
  • Do not send the items to the buyer until their payment has cleared in your bank account. 
  • If you have been sent a cheque for more money than the agreed price, send it back and ask for another cheque with the correct amount. Do not agree to repay the difference until you are certain that the cheque has cleared.
  • If you receive a receipt for payment that is being held, check with the bank or financial company – it is rare for a financial service to withhold payments until another action is carried out.