With scams targeting the agricultural sector surging this year, farmers and small businesses in rural and rural areas should be especially careful when purchasing heavy equipment.
The ACCC reported to Scamwatch that Australian farmers lost more than $1.2 million to scammers between 1 January and 31 August 2022. This is an increase of more than 20% compared to the same period last year.
The most common scams targeting farmers involve the sale of tractors and heavy equipment, and this scam alone has resulted in more than $1 million in losses so far this year.
ACCC Vice-Chairman Mick Keogh said, “Scammers are trying to sell seemingly great deals for tractors and other agricultural machinery online through fake websites and fake advertisements placed on legitimate platforms and publications. The trade is relentlessly luring farmers and local businesses.”
“Unfortunately, there has been a worrying rise in agricultural fraud in recent years as more and more agricultural businesses purchase equipment online. It’s causing devastation.”
“Scammers are very clever in how they impersonate businesses. We are urging them to do additional checks,” Keough said.
Scammers have evolved to present sales contracts, answer questions about potential machine sales over the phone or via email, and offer a free trial period once money is deposited into an escrow account. Continuing to cheat people in various ways. part of the scam.
Independently verifying a business’s existence by looking up the business’s address and calling nearby businesses is an important step in verifying the identity of the seller.
“Many scams are uncovered by searching the internet for the exact wording of the ad. Do not click on links provided by merchants or pay in advance, even if a refund is promised. Ask to be paid upon delivery or upon pickup,” said Keogh.
“If possible, inspect the machine in person or on live video first. Scammers often make excuses as to why they cannot inspect the machine in person. This is a red flag for buyers.”
“Scammers sometimes advertise machines for less than the typical market price. If so, it may be a scam.
Farmers have also been warned against providing too much personal information as scammers target more than money.
“Legitimate sellers only ask for enough information to deliver the item you ordered, so don’t give out too much personal information over the phone or online as you may be a victim of identity theft. is important,” says Keogh.
“If you have provided personal information and are concerned that you have been scammed, please contact IDCARE immediately.”
Businesses, whether or not they have suffered a loss, are encouraged to report fraud and find out how to get help on the Scamwatch website (scamwatch.gov.au).
Operated by ACCC, Scamwatch aims to raise awareness on how to recognize, avoid and report fraud. We share intelligence and work with governments, law enforcement, and the private sector to disrupt and prevent fraud.
If you have experienced cybercrime and lost money online, you can report it to the police through ReportCyber.
For emergency help with distress related to fraud, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or access support via online chat at www.lifeline.org.au between 7pm and midnight.
Beyond Blue also offers anxiety and depression support on 1300 22 4636 or online chat at www.beyondblue.org.au.