Livestock producers in Saskatchewan facing hot, dry conditions this growing season and a feed shortage have another problem to contend with — hay fraud.
Hay purchasing fraud is on the rise this year, and the RCMP is warning producers to be vigilant.
The RCMP says it is aware of several producers in the province who have been affected by the scam.
In the scam, fraudsters place ads for hay on social media and online buy/sell platforms and insist on immediate payment before the buyer can see the hay.
Some of the producers who have sent money then learned the seller had no hay to begin with.
The RCMP is asking anyone who has been the victim of this type of scam to get in touch with their local RCMP or police detachment.
Garth Woods, operation manager of Livestock Services Saskatchewan, says the high demand for hay this year is fuelling the scam.
“There’s a much higher percentage of producers over a wide area that are in need of at least some feed purchases, which is not the norm,” said Woods. “And this gives rise to a lot more transactions by a lot of people that aren’t necessarily regularly in that market.
“The opportunity is there. Any time there’s a large demand for a product at a good price, it tends to bring out sellers that are less than scrupulous.”
Woods says there are simple precautions producers can take to avoid getting scammed.
“Make sure the product exists and the product belongs to the person that’s selling it,” he said.
—The Canadian Press