EDMONTON, AB – Farmers are being warned not to fall victim to online scams that target consumers looking to buy hay.
RCMP say demand for hay is high right now, given the extreme drought conditions this past summer and it appears fraudsters are trying to take advantage of that.
Across Alberta RCMP jurisdictions this year, various groups have scammed victims out of roughly $64,000. Mounties believe there are many more incidents which were never reported to police.
The fraudsters have been placing listings for hay on places like social media and buy-and-sell platforms, requesting immediate payment before buyers see the product.
In all reported cases of hay fraud, Mounties say the maximum individual deposit sent to scammers was over $5,000, and the minimum was $1,000. Police stress it’s valuable to note that those who avoided being scammed had refused to give deposits in advance, insisted on speaking over the phone, and had paid cash upon delivery of goods.
RCMP say to avoid being scammed, things to look out for, include attractively low prices for hay and an ask for at least a 50% deposit.