TDA alerts livestock producers to possible scam

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) is warning livestock producers about a potential scam.

Several Tennessee cattle farmers have recently been contacted by a person or persons indicating they want to buy cattle. The supposed buyer reaches out via text, claiming that a cashier’s check will be sent as payment with money added for shipping, and that the seller should contact the buyer once the payment is received. If the seller indicates they won’t accept a cashier’s check, the conversation ends.

While a cashier’s check is a standard method of payment and typically safe to deposit, sellers should first contact the financial institution where the check is drawn to ensure its validity. There may be insufficient funds associated with the transaction, or the check itself may be counterfeit. To TDA’s knowledge, no Tennessee producers have fallen victim.

“Although at this time it appears that no crime has been committed, we want farmers to be cautious,” Agricultural Crime Unit Captain Greg Whitehead said. “This person appears to be targeting seedstock producers who advertised through reputable agriculture publications. Farmers have avoided being caught up in a possible scam because they’ve alerted each other, their local Extension office, and TDA.”

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Good practices to prevent being scammed include researching the potential buyer online before agreeing to a transaction and resisting pressure to act immediately on a sale or purchase. Consumers should be wary of offers to pay over the purchase price, even if there seems to be a valid reason. This tactic is common in check cashing scams.   

If you suspect a crime has been committed, please contact the Agricultural Crime Unit at 844-AG-CRIME (844-242-7463) or agriculture.crime@tn.gov.

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