On The Land

23 October, 2022

Farmers the target of scammers

FARMERS and small businesses in rural and regional areas are urged to be cautious, particularly when buying heavy machinery, following a spike in scams targeting the agricultural sector this year.

Farmers the target of scammers - feature photo

Reports to the ACCC’s Scamwatch show Australian farm businesses lost more than $1.2 million to scammers between 1 January and 31 August 2022, an increase of more than 20 per cent compared to the same period last year.

The most common scam targeting farmers involved the sale of tractors and heavy machinery, with losses to this scam alone topping $1 million so far this year.

“Scammers are ruthlessly luring farmers and rural businesses with seemingly good on-line deals on tractors and other farm machinery through fake websites or bogus classifieds on legitimate platforms and publications,” ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh said.

“Unfortunately, we have seen a concerning rise in agricultural scams in recent years, as farm businesses increasingly purchase machinery online. These scams are causing substantial financial losses and emotional devastation.”

“Scammers are highly sophisticated in the ways they impersonate a business – some fake websites have ABNs for instance - which is why we are urging farmers and business owners to be alert to the scam risks and do extra checks to avoid getting caught out.”

Scammers trick people through a range of ever-evolving methods such as providing a contract of sale, answering questions about the potential sale of machinery by phone or email, or offering a free trial period once money is deposited into an escrow account, which is actually part of the scam.

Farmers are also being warned against giving too much personal information as scammers are targeting more than just money.


Most Popular