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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Farmers targeted by eBay tractor scam

Police have issued a warning to farmers to notify them of a tractor scam on eBay.

The scam came to light after a vigilant farmer enquiring about a cheap tractor for sale on eBay “noticed something was wrong”.

The seller stated he was a farmer operating out of Sturminster Newton.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Dorset Police said: “Not everything appeared as it seemed, and enquiries were made.”

“Enquires at the farm the seller was stating he was from revealed that a tractor was not being sold and that the seller was false. It also revealed the pictures on the site were stock photos from a sale a number of years ago.”

“Fortunately, thanks to the vigilance of the farmer, no financial loss had occurred.”

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Dorset Police confirmed it has contacted the online marketplace to “request the sale be taken off-site and prevent further loss”.

£8,500 eBay tractor scam

The warning comes after an Essex farmer recently lost, but has since recovered £8,500 in a sophisticated internet sales scam.

Seb Blake fell victim to the scam last week after forking out £8,500 for a 2002 Case CS94 tractor advertised on eBay.

He told Farmers Weekly that he wanted to replace his 1985 Case tractor and spotted this aforementioned agricultural vehicle for sale at a farm in Hook, Hampshire.

He later discovered that the farm exists, but the seller details were fake. The Essex farmer soon realised that he had been the victim of a tractor scam.

Halifax Bank has since funded the amount into his account, while the online auction website removed the fake tractor advert in question on Friday, April 9th, 2021.

“I was embarrassed, and I was a fool. But at least I’m a fool with my money back,” the farmer told the publication.

“Unless you can put your hands on a tractor, touch it, start it up and drive it away, then don’t buy it,” he warned fellow farmers.

You can read other cases we covered and more articles from That’s Farming.

Cyber-security for farmers – Practical tips on how to stay safe

NFU and National Cyber Security Centre have compiled the following information:

  • Keep devices up to-to-date: Ensure the operating system and installed software on your devices are regularly updated. You can set updates installed automatically;
  • Old machines: If your computer is old, it will be more vulnerable to attack from malware and viruses. Also, it will be more likely to develop faults that can result in data losses;
  • Back-up your data: Make regular back-ups of critical data and keep these back-ups somewhere physically separate to save you from the worst impacts of a malware or ransomware attack;
  • Keep your device safe: Switch on password protection (screen lock password PIN, fingerprint/FaceID or other authentication methods) and use an encryption product. This will prevent unauthorised access to your information;
  • Passwords: Change all default passwords, have a different password, write down passwords, use a password manager, choose strong passwords;
  • Turn on two-factor authentication;
  • Switch on your firewall;
  • Ensure you turn on your antivirus product and up-to-date.

You can find more useful tips on cybersecurity here.

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