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Heavy machinery and farm equipment focus of recent fraud scams

A farm tractor in this file image. A farm tractor in this file image.

Provincial police has recently received reports of victims purchasing heavy machinery or farm equipment from sellers believed to be in the United States, but end up losing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In 2022, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) received fraud reports totalling $8.9 million in victim losses related to merchandise frauds. It is estimated that only 5-10% of victims report scams and frauds to law enforcement.

How does the scams work:

Victims conducting online searches for heavy machinery or farm equipment often locate items below market value or a 'good deal'. The victim begins communicating directly with the fraudster(s), who has stolen images and information about the equipment from other websites or platforms.

Once a price is agreed upon and logistics for shipping are discussed, the fraudster requests payment in the form of a wire transfer to a financial institution located in the U.S. After receiving payment; the fraudsters cease communication with the victim, who never receives the equipment.

Prevention tips:

Be your own detective. Take your time and research your purchase:

  • If a deal seems to be too good to be true, it is. Fraudsters use reputable websites to post stolen images and equipment information
  • If you don't know the buyer/seller, investigate them thoroughly. For example, internet map searches for the address, reverse image searches of the equipment, and consider contacting local heavy equipment repair companies.
  • If possible, physically inspect the equipment or consider having a professional conduct the inspection.
  • Don't be influenced by an extreme sense of urgency by the other party.

Click here to learn more about merchandise scams.

If you fall victim to fraud or know someone who has, contact your local police service to report the crime and report it to the CAFC at 1-888-495-8501 or online on the Fraud Reporting System (FRS), even if a financial loss did not occur. Top Stories

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