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Cornish farmers warned over tractor sales fraud
7:00am Sunday 29th September 2013 in News
Farmers in Cornwall are being warned to take extra vigilance when buying second hand farm equipment – particularly tractors that appear to be very reasonably priced.
It is after Devon and Somerset Trading Standards had their attention drawn to fraudulent trading activity concerning the sale of tractors.
Officers have warned to watch out for fraudsters hijacking legitimate accounts on online auction sites and putting correspondence surrounding the sale through a private email address and bank account.
There was also a danger of a fraudulent account being set up using details of legitimate companies that do not trade on such sites, in order to give the buyer a false sense of security – with the legitimate company having no knowledge of their credentials being used.
Vigilance has also been advised over adverts placed in trusted farming and agricultural publications – the main hook being the very reasonable price of the tractor accompanied, or unaccompanied, by the credentials of a recognised supplier. Money is paid in to the fraudster’s bank account and delivery is arranged but the goods never arrive.
Similarly, adverts can be placed on agricultural internet trading sites for tractors that do not exist. Initial correspondence of emails going back and forth followed by the fraudster asking for funds to be transferred via a bank transfer.
Trading Standards advises buyers to be sure as they can that the trader they are dealing with exists. Where possible check sort codes of bank accounts against geographical information and any area dialling codes of phone numbers match addresses given.
Look at genuine pictures of the farm machinery being advertised. Does the model detailed in the advert exist and does the picture match the picture in the advert? The fraudster might have mismatched an internet generated photo with the model that they are claiming to have for sale.
If dealing on an online auction site it is advisable to go through their buyer/seller contact channels rather than emailing any private email addresses given by the seller. Paypal can offer greater protection to the consumer than wilfully making a bank transfer.
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