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Hackers take control of Benton Horse Seller’s website and defraud a great number of consumers across the country



Benton, Arkansas – A Benton horse seller’s page has been taken over by unknown hackers, who have conned several customers.

Owner of Diamond S Quarter Horses Alice Smith revealed that last year after a guy arrived to take a horse that she did not have to sell, she discovered that her website had been hacked.

“He and I got to talking about it [and found out] it was listed under a scam,” Smith said. “It has our business name, our business address, directions here everything [but] it’s just not us.”

Smith reported that over the year, several individuals from all around the nation have visited her company to pick up a horse they bought from the compromised website.

“We can’t get it stopped,” Smith said. “When we see somebody coming down the driveway with a trailer, we know that they’re coming for the sale. I mean, it’s just gotten crazy.”

One Texas buyer reportedly sent the business $850.00 via Venmo and then went from Texas to Arkansas to pick up the horse, according to police reports from the Saline County Sheriff’s Department.

Smith claimed she had called the attorney general’s office and submitted her police report, but she has not received a response.

She added that her daughter-in-law got in touch with the con artists as well.

“She was like, ‘Why do you keep sending people here all they’re doing is coming to their house [and] there’s not a horse there for sale’,” Smith recalled. “[The] people were like, ‘If the buyers will not give me any money, this is their punishment. They have to drive. They’ll be on their time and money to drive to look at a horse that’s not there.”

According to Cara Carlin of the Better Business Bureau (BBB), these kinds of scams, sometimes known as “Pet Scams,” frequently target puppies and other animals.

“We see this come in on all types of animals, livestock scams, horses, could be any type of pet, we’ve gotten parrots,” Carlin said. “If it’s kind of hard to find rare purebred animals, those are the types of things that the pet scammers target.”

Carlin advised getting in touch with police enforcement in cases similar to Smith’s, just in case the criminal is a local.

However, Carlin points out that hackers and scammers occasionally work from outside the nation, making it challenging to find them.

“Reporting to the Internet Crime Complaint Center is a great step because they are actually the organization that tracks down these scams and tries to find out who’s perpetrating them,” Carlin said.” You can also report to BBB scam tracker that way it’s out there for others to find if they’re having a similar situation and they want to confirm.”

According to Carlin, it’s important to be proactive when it comes to websites by:

• implementing a two-factor authentication setup for websites
• consulting with an IT professional if needed
• having contact with the domain provider in case something happens

Carlin continued by suggesting that a company that has had a hack should get in touch with its clients to inform them of the incident.

“That may be sending out emails, that may be posting on Facebook, that may be putting an alert on your BBB profile that there has been an imposter,” Carlin said.

Carlin added that buyers should exercise caution when buying anything, even animals.

“Never pay upfront, even in partial terms for an animal that you have not been able to meet in person,” Carlin said. “It’s very important that you don’t provide information until you know that this is a real animal that you’re going to be able to purchase.”


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