Saskatchewan cattle ranchers facing hot, dry conditions this growing season and a shortage of feed face another problem: hay fraud.
Hay purchase fraud is on the rise this year and the RCMP is asking producers to be vigilant.
The RCMP say they are aware of several producers in the province who have been affected by the scam.
In the scam, scammers place advertisements for hay on social media and online buy / sell platforms and demand immediate payment before the buyer can see the hay.
Some of the producers who sent the money then learned that the vendor initially had no hay.
The RCMP asks anyone who is the victim of this type of scam to contact their local RCMP or police detachment.
Garth Woods, director of operations for Livestock Services Saskatchewan, says strong demand for hay this year is fueling the scam.
“There is a much higher percentage of producers over a large area who need at least a few feed purchases, which is not the norm,” Woods said. “And that results in a lot more transactions by a lot of people who aren’t necessarily in that market regularly.
“The opportunity is there. Whenever there is a high demand for a product at a good price, it tends to attract less scrupulous sellers.
Woods says there are simple precautions producers can take to avoid getting ripped off.
“Make sure the product exists and that it belongs to the person selling it,” he said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on August 10, 2021.