Baton Rouge, La. – Inspectors with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry’s (LDAF) Livestock Brand Commission (LSBC) have noticed an uptick in the number of scams related to livestock sales and want to make the public aware so that they can make smart business decisions. The Livestock Brand Commission has conducted several investigations where farmers have encountered scams relating to livestock sales over the past few weeks.
“Farmers should use caution when dealing with people who make offers that seem too good to be true,” says LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain, DVM. “It is unfortunate that there are people that take advantage of others for financial gain, but there are ways to stay alert and tips to practice to hopefully avoid falling victim to scammers.”
To protect yourself from potential scams, it is recommended that you:
- Avoid providing personal or financial information to unknown parties.
- Beware of intentional overpayments. Never accept a check or cashier’s check for more than the value of the sale. When the original check turns out to be fraudulent, the seller is the one who comes up short after having refunded them.
- Confirm checks are valid by contacting your bank or the issuing bank.
- When buying items, never issue payment until the items are received unless you have complete trust in the seller.
- Watch out for social media listings that offer items at a price that seems too good to be true. These scams rely on impulsive actions, so always think before you click.
- Verify that listings are legitimate before taking action.
- Check out a seller before you buy. Search online for the company’s name plus words like “review,” “scam,” or “complaint.”
- Consider how you’re asked to pay. Don’t deal with a seller who requires payment by wire transfer, cryptocurrency, or gift card. That’s sure to be a scam.
- Go slow. Avoid high-pressure sales pitches that require you to “lock in” prices by paying for all or part of your order before getting delivery, particularly if you don’t know the seller.
- Talk with someone you trust. Before you pay, tell someone — a friend, family member, or neighbor — about the deal. Talking about it could help you realize it’s a scam.
Should a farmer encounter what they believe to be a scam, report the matter to local law enforcement and/or the Livestock Brand Commission at 800-558-9741.