Victims are losing hundreds of thousands of dollars to scammers
By Diego Flammini
The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is warning the public of scammers targeting farmers and other people interested in purchasing heavy equipment.
“The OPP has recently received reports of victims purchasing heavy machinery or farm equipment from sellers believed to be in the United States, losing hundreds of thousands of dollars,” the OPP said in a statement this week.
Victims searching for this kind of machinery will come across listings below market value or advertised as a good deal.
Once the lines of communication are open, the fraudsters will provide images and information about the equipment taken from other sources, the police said.
“Once a price is agreed upon and logistics are discussed, the fraudster requests payment in form of a wire transfer to a financial institution in the U.S.,” the OPP said. “After receiving payment, the fraudsters cease communication with the victim, who never receives the equipment.”
This is similar to incidents the Alberta RCMP warned Albertans about.
Between April and August, the RCMP received multiple phone calls from victims about fraud involving ag equipment.
Both the OPP and RCMP provided tips for people making online purchases.
The tips include conducting thorough research on the buyer or seller, physically inspecting the equipment or having a professional conduct the inspection, and not being influenced by the other party’s sense of urgency.
Farmers looking for a reputable place to buy equipment can also try the Farms.com Classifieds pages.