DERBY, Kan. (KSNW) – It if sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
“Just do some homework,” said Derby hay producer Tim Brandyberry. “Some exchanges on the internet are scamming people out of money and then sending them to our place to pick up hay.”
Brandyberry says he never asks for a down payment, but he has people from several different Kansas towns stopping at his place looking for hay. Some say they put a down payment on hay to reserve the feed for their cattle.
He says the scammers are getting good at sounding like they have the hay. Scammers have been taking pics and descriptions off Brandyberry’s website, posting the hay for sale on farmer exchanges, and asking buyers to send money.
“I had a guy out in western Kansas, said his dad gave him a thousand dollars one day, and they were texting back the next day. And they want more,” said Brandyberry. “A lady texted me over the weekend, and she said she had sent them $1,500.”
Brandyberry says the scammers only want to text and not talk on the phone.
Agriculture experts say pay attention, do your homework and know it is likely a red flag that someone is asking for money to “reserve” hay in advance.
“Producers are going to just have to be very, very careful. If they have a known supplier that can get them the hay and go through the proper channels, that’s going to be the best way to do it,” said KSN Agriculture Analyst John Jenkinson. “Because tracking these scams is just very, very difficult, especially when it’s over the internet.”
Brandyberry says he wants everyone to know about the scams because so many are looking for hay right now – with drought making hay hard to find and in demand.
“If it looks like it’s too good a price, it’s probably a scam. If the seller is only wanting to text and says they are too busy to talk to you, it is a scam,” said Brandyberry. “And if they want money online in advance, that’s another sign.”
Brandyberry says it angers him to see the scam, especially since he has spent 20 years building a reputation as a reliable businessman. But, he also says he feels for people who lose money.
“I get it. People need hay,” said Brandyberry. “But it’s just sad how they’re taking advantage of people in a bad situation.”