South Yorkshire residents alerted to fake 'horse buying' scam

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South Yorkshire residents are being urged not to fall victim to a horse buying scam that has left some people thousands of pounds out of pocket.

Fraudsters are placing fake adverts on reputable equestrian sale websites to scam victims out of large amounts of money.

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The scammers are even supporting their claims of the horse’s existence by supplying copies of relevant ownership documents, pictures and videos of the animal.

Victims are told to pay an up-front fee for the horse and shipment only to later find that it doesn’t exist.

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More than £68, 000 was lost via the scam between 2014 and 2017 - an average of over £3400 per victim.

Action Fraud - the UK's national cyber crime reporting agency - is alerting residents to the scam and urging them to not fall victim to it.

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Pauline Smith, head of Action Fraud, 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.”