Farmers alerted after tractor scammer reappears on eBay

A sophisticated tractor scam has returned to the eBay retail platform after the same fraudulent advertisement tricked 18 farmers last year.

The listing, which appears to have been posted by a compromised seller account, shows a 2006 John Deere 6620 tractor in ‘superb condition’ for £8,999 – several thousand pounds below market value.

eBay’s Fraudulent Listing

This comes less than 18 months later weekly farmers revealed the devastating fallout from last year’s scam, which was posted on a number of compromised seller accounts, with listings posted in various locations across the country.

See also: Other victims of eBay tractor scams tell us their stories

Simon Lane was a victim of fraud last year and contacted weekly farmers when he noticed that he had recently resurfaced.

“The scammers are so smart – they make it look like you’re dealing with PayPal,” Mr Lane said.

“They use something called PayPal ‘cash on delivery’, which I reviewed and recorded. Later I received an invoice that looked like it was sent by eBay, containing a PayPal button. It looked very authentic with all correct fonts and logos, and even had a working link to the tractor advertisement.

“When you realize your £9,000 has left your bank account, that’s the most awful feeling – I’ve well and truly lost my money for over 18 months – I only got it from the bank two months ago.”

Mr Lane reported the reappearance of the fraudulent account to eBay last Thursday (August 18), but the listing has not yet been removed from the site. It can be found under article number 284932087174.

weekly farmers contacted eBay for comment.

Top tips to avoid being the next victim

Farmers should exercise great caution when buying second-hand machinery, as a ‘cost-effective solution’ can be a very costly mistake, warns rural insurer NFU Mutual.

The trade in agricultural vehicles and equipment has become a major business for organized criminal gangs selling online under seemingly bona fide accounts.

NFU Mutual recommends following these steps:

  • If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Check the market value and find a legitimate reason why the price is low
  • Check that the seller’s contact details – address and telephone number – are valid
  • Beware of sellers who offer to meet halfway at a rest or service area – it is much better to visit their home or business premises
  • As you would with a car, perform a thorough inspection of the vehicle and take it for a test drive
  • Check that important and identifiable features such as serial numbers have not been scratched, for example on trailers or quad frames.
  • Always check the machine or vehicle documentation
  • Pay a small fee for an HPI (Lease-Purchase Investigation) check to tell you if the vehicle has been stolen or damaged, has an insurance claim, or has outstanding financing.

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