Farmers are being warned about a potential con targeting those trying to sell hay through the Missouri Hay Directory.
The Hay Directory compiles a list of farmers with hay for sale. The Missouri Department of Agriculture manages the directory, which can be accessed through its Web site.
Travis Ford with the Attorney General’s office says some farmers have been approached with very suspicious offers. Ford says there is no evidence anyone has fallen for the scam, a variation of the "overpayment scam" in which the con artist tells the seller he’ll send a check for more than the amount requested as long as the seller forwards the excess to a third party. The check bounces and the seller is out the amount he forwarded.
Ford says the scam targets more than farmers. It preys especially on those selling over the Internet and has been used in the past to defraud those selling furniture or cars on the Web. Ford says anyone should be leery of unusual payment schemes, with the best transactions being face-to-face.
Ford advises anyone who has had a suspicious offer to contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division . The Attorney General Consumer Protection Hotline is 1-800-392-8222. The Web site is "ago.mo.gov".