Fraudsters are committing hay fraud and scamming producers in Saskatchewan.
The fraudsters are placing advertisements on social media and other buying platforms. They ask for instant payment before the buyer has an opportunity to see the hay or is in a position to take delivery.
As per a message from the RCMP Sask. Crime Watch Advisory Network, many producers sent money over, only to later discover that the scammer didn’t have any hay.
Chad MacPherson, the general manager of the Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association said due to the extreme drought conditions, hay prices have been skyrocketing. He said this forces producers to make swift decisions and to purchase feed from further away, which exposed them to greater risks.
“The drought is so widespread that you have to buy it when you see it … people are being forced to make decisions without any research because if they don’t speak for it now, it might not be there when they call back in half an hour,” he said.
The heat caused hay prices to spike 200% from the previous year, and one round hale bay costs $200. Due to the demand for hay, there has additionally been hay theft.
MacPherson said there are several persons looking for feed, yet supply is quite low. He said it is disappointing that persons are taking advantage of producers’ desperate situation, though anytime there is a crisis such as this, these kinds of things occur, so it is not really unexpected.
The RCMP says producers should make steps to ensure that transactions online or over buy and sell platforms are carried in a safe manner. They recommend not sending money till buyers are in a position to confirm that the product is legitimate, and the delivery has been established.
If you’re a victim of fraud, you can contact your local RCMP or police detachment.
Anyone with information related to hay fraud can call 310-RCMP, or they can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.