UPDATE: Sheriff Derek Manning tells KFOR on late Wednesday afternoon another resident reported the same scam, however, the buyer was interested in cattle that had been advertised on Facebook.
BECKHAM COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – An Oklahoma sheriff’s office is warning farmers of a new scam in which scammers are posing as hay buyers.
Sheriff Derek Manning said on Wednesday a new scam had been reported in Beckham County.
According to the sheriff’s office, scammers are posing as hay buyers in order to get local farmers to unknowingly deposit fraudulent checks.
“This works almost exactly like the sweepstakes scam, which we also saw a case of this week,” Manning said. “This particular scammer offered to buy hay from one of our local farmers who had posted his hay for sale on Facebook. The scammer then sent a check for several hundred dollars more than the agreed-upon amount. The scammer told the farmer he had mistakenly included a hauling fee, and asked the farmer to go ahead and deposit the check and just send him back a check for the overpayment.”
If the victim follows through, they eventually find out the check they deposited from the buyer is bogus, and the check they sent back for the supposed overpayment is already cashed.
“They’ve got your money and you’re left holding a worthless check,” Manning said.
In this case, the farmer became suspicious after his bank told him the check was not good.
So, he contacted the buyer back who in return told the farmer to deposit the check through a retail checking service.
The farmer decided to contact the sheriff’s office.
“Our deputy told the farmer he was right to be suspicious, and suggested the farmer contact the supposed hay buyer and ask him to send some verification of his ID,” Manning said. “Obviously, that stopped the scammer, because he probably wasn’t who he said he was or where he said he was. He never intended to buy hay, he just wanted to scam an honest person out of the several hundred dollars he had ‘overpaid.’ Good instincts from the farmer, watchfulness from the bank and good advice from my deputy kept this scammer from getting away with a large amount of money.”
Manning says his best advice is to trust your gut.
“Be cautious, don’t give out information, and call us if you’re the least bit suspicious. We’re always happy to take the call and try to help,” he said. “We may not always be able to take enforcement action on someone or even know for sure where they’re operating from. But we might be able to help you protect your bank account and warn others in the process.”