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Internet Scams

Internet Scams

Exploring all the Internet has to offer can be great fun and very profitable, but it pays to have some "street smarts".  We encourage visitors to report and suggest ways to avoid Internet scams, share their own experiences with scammers, and provide links to other helpful sites on this topic.

The following information is provided as a public service. While certain local, state and federal statutes or other laws may be discussed, the laws of each state and often each municipality vary and each may have its own procedures and time limitations which must be followed. BAEN shall not be liable for any information provided herein. Please read our full Legal Disclaimer.


Advertiser gives a location different from what's stated in the ad

This is not a confirmed scam but we want to give users a heads up.  Ads posted on our site include the city and state as entered by the advertiser. If, when you contact an advertiser he/she asks you to mail payment to a city and state different from the one given in the ad, and/or says that the item for sale is not actually located in the city and state advertised, proceed with caution. Any advertiser who claims a different location from what's stated in the ad should raise a red flag for buyers.  If you encounter this situation, please email us at info@bayequest.com and include the ad ID number so we can check it out. 

"Cashier's Check" or "African Buyer" or "Overseas" Scam

This is an old scam making the rounds on the Internet with a slightly different angle. It first gained national attention in January of 2003 (do a Google search for "cashier's check scam" and you'll get hundreds of results). These scammers are all over the Internet targeting anyone selling high-priced items such as cars, boats, airplanes, and yes, even horses and horse equipment. Their goal is to find a trusting seller to whom they can pass a counterfeit cashier's check. The scammer entices the seller with a cashier's check made out for more than the purchase price and a request for the seller to refund the difference. 

The scammer usually starts by sending an email inquiry about the horse or item for sale (see sample) but doesn't ask the type of questions you would expect from a legitimate buyer (although this is changing - see below). If the seller responds, the scammer eventually brings up the subject of a cashiers check that his agent/client/friend/relative/etc. will send or deliver. Sellers may may receive multiple nearly identical messages from different email addresses; the same nearly identical message may also go out to hundreds of different sellers. Frequently the scammer has poor English language skills. In some cases where contact is made via telephone, the scammer pretends to be deaf and uses an interpretive service.

With the BAENmail system in our new Classifieds, it's still possible for scammers to send you email messages if you include an email link in your post, but the scammer cannot see your email address or save it to a mailing list. They are not hacking the database, they are manually browsing public web sites just like other legitimate visitors and clicking on email links. Other horse commerce sites like Dreamhorse, Webpony, etc. are also being targeted (probably because of the preponderance of high-ticket items for sale - scammers go where the money is). Web site security is not the issue - these scammers are not hacking computer systems, they are manually browsing public web sites just like other legitimate visitors and clicking on email links. The only foolproof way to avoid receiving email scams or spam is to not post your email address on the Internet.

We suggest you treat messages of this sort like spam and other unwanted email and delete without responding. See tips on avoiding spam.   

Variations on the Cashier's Check Scam

On 12/11/03 one of our advertisers contacted us to share the following: "A couple of my trainers have been receiving a new type of fraudulent email. One almost shipped a horse out. Here's the new scenario: Someone inquires to buy a horse with a cashier's check, no vet check needed. The inquires come thru email, but they may call you too. They will send you this cashier's check that is fraudulent. The fraud is not caught until the cashier's check gets back to the issuing bank. Your local bank will probably not catch that it is phony. Then the person calls you at the spur of the moment that the horse needs to be shipped tomorrow. The hauler has been arranged and will arrive tomorrow. They ask for you to pay the hauler."

This is the basic Cashier's Check scam with the added twist of a phone call and pressure upon the seller to ship on a moment's notice.

The scammers know that savvy Internet users are on to them, so their pitches are evolving. Scammers are beginning to ask 'normal' buyer's questions about the condition of the horse or item for sale in order to appear more legitimate, yet their slightly-off-key messages will still ring alarm bells for most sellers.

Some Commonsense Advice

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Even though you've posted a for-sale ad, whether electronically or in print, you are under NO obligation to sell to anyone, no matter who they are or how much they offer. You are NO obligation to respond to an email or phone offer that makes you uncomfortable in any way. It's YOUR item for sale on YOUR terms, and anyone who is put off by your legitimate efforts to protect yourself and your property can take a hike. Treat suspicious emails like spam and delete upon receipt without replying.

Your best protection is to insist upon cash paid in person, direct deposit to your bank account via wire transfer, or PayPal. Do not ship your horse or item until you've verified the money is deposited safely in your account. If you feel you must accept a check, insist that the issuing bank clear the check before the horse or item leaves your control (this can take 7-14 days, which is why the scammers pressure you to ship NOW). Don't allow ANYONE to pressure you into a sale.

If you're a Scam Victim...

Please see resources at Scam Victims United

To file complaints in the US use the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Complaint Form or forward suspected scam email to uce@ftc.gov. For Canadian Complaints contact the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. For more information on this scam, please view Google search results

Additional links for reporting scams and spam, contributed by BAEN users

Sample Cashier's Check Scam Messages

We've posted a selection of Cashier's Check scam messages contributed by our users. If you received a scam message that is substantially different from these examples, please forward to us and we'll share it here.


Domain Registry Of America Scam

Domain name owners are often the target of misleading or fraudulent scams involving their domains. Usually these scams involve trying to get the owner of a domain to transfer to another provider with much higher rates by tricking them into thinking they need to "renew." The letters these scammers send out are very professional looking, and unfortunately many people have unwittingly transferred their domains to these more costly providers.

Domain Registry of America (DROA), whose fake renewal letters are actually transfer authorizations, is probably the most well-known of these companies. Thankfully, a federal district court has now barred DROA from misleading consumers in the marketing of their domain name services. The court ordered that DROA, based in Ontario, Canada, may be required to provide redress to up to 50,000 consumers, is prohibited from engaging in similar conduct in the future, and is subject to stringent monitoring by the Federal Trade Commission to ensure its compliance with the court order. To read an article about these developments, please click here.

To keep your domains safe, please remember that BAEN/AZC only sends customer communications via e-mail. If you receive a domain renewal/expiration notice in the mail, it is NOT from any of the registrars we employ. If you follow the instructions in these letters, you will be renewing your domains at significantly higher prices than you currently pay at BAEN/AZC.

If you registered your domain through BAEN/AZC and have any questions or concerns about these deceptive letters, please contact us at info@bayequest.com

"Irish Buyer"  Note: This is not a confirmed scam, but is highly suspicious.

{Posted on HorseCity.com, 7/23/03] "A company from Dublin, Ireland using the e-mail golfhorses@yahoo.com has contacted many users that have horses for sale. The address they give has been verified to be a hotel in Ireland and the nature of the e-mail is suspicious at best. If it sounds to good to be true… it usually is. Sellers beware. Ryan R. Dohrn, General Manger of HorseCity.com

"Sick Relative", "Wife needs an operation"  Note: This is not a confirmed scam, but is highly suspicious.

6/20/03  I really enjoy and use your site. A few days ago I listed under "Trailers Wanted" an ad asking for a 2-3 H trailer. Yesterday afternoon I got an email from someone named, "Femy Wood." After quite a long series of emails, I believe it was a scam. He was offering me a 3-H slant for $2850, claiming his wife was having an operation. I tend to believe people and wrote back to him. I kept asking him for the make of the trailer and he kept not giving me that information. Finally, I asked for the make and the license plate number and he finally stopped writing back. Here are some of his messages. Thanks, again, for a great, useful site.

Date: Fri, 20 Jun 2003 00:27:36 -0400, From: femy wood, Subject: Re: trailer: "yse i now understand you but you didnot understand me i didnot say you should not come to my plase for the check pu but i have to get money by tommorow morning and let do like trghis send half of the money tommorow morning and come for the checkup in the afternoon so by then i will also be around for cos i have to make sure the opration is under way by tommorow morning so plase pitty my condition assuming i ma with money at home i could have not sell my property but i cnat let my wife die at early age so help my condition and help me sultt my problem mail me asap > Femy"

10:25 PM -0400 6/19/03, femy wood wrote: "thanks ok i understand you but so fare you are coming on friday cvan i give you the inm for mation tha you will use in sending the money and send it to my wife`s brother tommorow morning mail me back asap"

At 7:42 PM -0400 6/19/03, femy wood wrote: "hi my name is femy wood i ma willing to sell my (trailer,) in order to traet my sick wife i was told that she will be undergoing opration in the next three day, that is the reason why i am selling it for $ 2850 i will be very graetfrull if you can buy it from me and to help in saveing my wife`s live . i will like you to tell me the amount you will be willing to pay this thng is in good condition it is just five mounth old i pray i sould not sell my things againg after this delima have com to past mail me asap thanks regards wood"

Additional links for reporting scams and spam, contributed by BAEN users
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