The Missouri Department of Agriculture is warning hay producers across the state listed on the Missouri Hay Directory of a ploy where producers are contacted by a supposed interested buyer scamming them out of thousands of dollars.
In recent situations, producers selling hay receive contact from someone claiming they are interested in making a purchase. The producers then receive a substantial check and, in addition, are asked to wire transfer funds to a truck hauler who will supposedly pick up the bales of hay. This is considered an overpayment scam where the buyer mails a check to the seller asking the seller to send part of the funds via wire transfer to a hauling company. The producer seller then finds out days and sometimes weeks later that the original payment has bounced.
The department reminds producers to be diligent when selling any of agricultural product by phone or online. "Our Missouri Hay Directory has truly been a success for over 10 years and it is unfortunate that someone is trying to take advantage of our producers," says Katie Smith, director of MDA. "We are asking producers to make good business decisions when dealing with anyone that is contacting them regarding purchasing hay and make sure you have some level of confidence in the buyer and their method of payment."
For more information regarding the Missouri Hay Directory or to report a suspicious email, contact Mark Murphy at (573) 751-7213, or visit www.mda.mo.gov/Market/haydirectory.htm.