Thursday, May 19, 2011

internet dangers

It is a dangerous world out there and then add the anonymous and ubiquitous nature of the internet to that. I hope to be able to teach my child about the dangers of the internet so that they can view each and every interaction with suspicion and not invest much in them. It's sad that we have to do that, but we must in order keep ourselves safe or to avoid getting scammed.

I've had several people contact me about Sassy via the ad I placed on dreamhorse. Most of them ask a few questions, but never respond after I answer them. One sounds interested and we emailed quite a bit, but she has to sell her horse first. And then 3 of the 9 total responses I've gotten have been from scammers! Of course, I figured that out by their response to my response email, and then by their complete lack of response when I asked them for more info and stated that I would not make this sort of transaction solely over the internet and that they must answer my questions and contact me by phone. I just logged into dreamhorse today to see if there is a way to report such scammers and lo and behold, they actually flagged the three messages for me saying that they had other people report them as potential scammers. That's really good of dreamhorse to do that and try to protect their users. It just floors me that there are scammers that try to specialize in the horse for sale world. I guess they are everywhere though...where there is a niche, there will be a scammer. And these scammers have horrible grammar - I'm guessing that they are foreign. These scammers are easy to pick out. It'd be scary to try to deal with a scammer that actually does a better job at hiding it. What are the essential tips to pick out a scammer? There are many, but the most important thing is to never complete a transaction like this solely over the internet. While yes you can get scammed by someone you meet face to face, it is so much less likely and hopefully you can pick that person out as dishonest. Over the internet is difficult though.

Here is the latest scammer and my responses to them:

Initial contact email from scammer:

Hello Am good about this horse and i will like to buy it for my hubby, we have two horse which we love so much,i will like this horse to frolic with the other horses. I want to know its condition 2. Reason for selling 3.....what is the final asking price . and hit me up with more photographs if possible

My response:

Sassy is in good pasture condition - she's not fit, but she lives in a large pasture with other horses that keep her very active, so I'd say she's ready to trail ride, but would need further conditioning for other disciplines. You can see from the photo that she's got good weight on her.

Sassy is being sold because she is green and I don't have time to work with her. She was my nephew's horse, but he lost interest in her when he bought a motorcycle. He only rode her once after buying her from a friend (who did all the training on her) who was heading to college.

I have not decided on Sassy's final asking price. I don't want to drop much below $750 because she is a very nice horse who someone put a lot of work into and she needs to go someplace where she will be used. But she needs more work - she is green. I can be negotiable, to the right home, but I'm not bargaining with price until I actually get a person out to see her.

Where do you live? What is your husband's riding experience (because Sassy needs more work - either further training with a professional, or an experienced rider). Do you have a trainer in mind that you'd send her to?

Scammer's response (directly cut and paste so grammar and punctuation is the same)

Thanks so much for the prompt response to my mail,The price is okay by me,I
really wish to be there to check it but i am not chanced due to My job,Payment
will be via certified cashiers check,I will also wait for it to get cleared
before our family vet come for pick up ,I believe what I am buying from you is in
good condition so I want to secure the purchase to avoid loosing it,Concerning
the pick up, our shipper would be at your place to check on the present
condition of it and he will also take care of the transportation, for the pick
up after you have received and confirmed payment .please do provide me with the
below information to facilitate mailing the payment to you so as to have this
transaction completed ASAP
Your name and address your phone Number

And my final response:

Your email response sounds like a scammer (because you do not address the object for sale (horse)). I would appreciate a response to the questions that I asked in the previous email in order to show me that you are seriously interested in the horse and also that you have the horse's best interests in mind. Also, I do not make such important transactions solely via email. I will need you to call me on the phone so that we can discuss this. Please call me at ***-***-****.

I decided it was okay to list my phone number in my response because it is listed as a contact number in my dreamhorse ad, so this person already has access to that, but not my full name or address. And of course, the same precautions apply if I were actually to be contacted by phone about Sassy, although I doubt this scammer speaks good enough English to be able to pull of such a scam over the phone.


Mom said...

Kara, We got the same kind of responses when we tried to list the motorcycle on Craig's list. The responses never address the item being sold, only that they are very eager to buy and want name address, phone number and bank account to transfer the money.
Yea, right. Like I am going to do that. We took it off right away.

Try selling her on
This is a local bulletin board for the area served by mwt and they have a section for Horse & Rider where people are looking for or selling horses.


Mom said...

Here's the link:

Linda said...

Okay, that's just weird! What the heck?!?!? Unfortunately, some people are so near illiterate, it does leave room for doubt, but apparently it is a scammer.