Fake tractor sites sow financial woe

Lanie ChoppingCountryman
Consumer Protection commissioner Lanie Chopping.
Camera IconConsumer Protection commissioner Lanie Chopping. Credit: WA ScamNet

Everyone loves a bargain, but don’t be fooled by deals on new tractors that look too good to be true.

Fake websites currently offering farm machinery at greatly discounted prices are swindling farmers right across WA, with losses tripling in just one month to a whopping $143,000.

So far we know of nine victims who have been scammed this way, after they ordered and paid for farm machinery from various bogus websites.

Fake courier companies are also being used to fool consumers into thinking their purchases are on their way.

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Unfortunately it’s becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish a real website from a fake one, as scammers often steal the identity and ABNs of legitimate online retailers.

They might also provide the same contact details, machinery photos and physical address of the legitimate business, so it looks like you’re dealing with a proper business.

These fraudsters even follow the agricultural seasons to market machinery that may be needed at different times of the year.

As fast as these websites get shut down, others are springing up in their place — so it’s up to everyone to do their research before parting with their hard-earned money.

Everyone who shops online should only deal with well-known and reputable traders and get recommendations from colleagues, family and friends.

An online search for warnings or reviews might also help indicate if the website is a scam.

Watch out for payments requested via direct bank transfer, as it’s much harder to get your money back.

Scammers often don’t allow you to use safer payment measures such as credit cards, where a chargeback can be completed for goods that fail to arrive.

For more details about this scam, including the known sites to watch out for, visit the WA ScamNet website: scamnet.wa.gov.au.

Enquiries can be made by calling 1300 30 40 54.

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