Farmers told to be vigilant of scams amid Covid-19 crisis

NFU Cymru is warning farmers to be wary of the heightened threat of fraudulent scams
NFU Cymru is warning farmers to be wary of the heightened threat of fraudulent scams

Farmers have been warned to remain vigilant to fraudulent scams and other criminal activity during the coronavirus pandemic.

The advice comes following reports of suspicious websites advertising farm vehicles and machinery for sale that, in reality, do not exist.

NFU Cymru, which raised the reports, said it was concerned that some farmers could be 'duped' into buying goods online from sources they would not usually consider.

The union's deputy president Aled Jones has called for more awareness of 'unscrupulous' individuals who target businesses through criminal and fraudulent activity.

"Given the restrictions currently in place, farmers may be looking online to purchase goods and ‘big ticket’ items that they would usually travel to inspect in person.

"At a time when some farmers’ buying habits may change to adapt to the current situation, it’s very important to stress that we should all be wary," Mr Jones said.

NFU Cymru has issued advice for farming businesses to consider before committing to online purchases, such as sticking to trusted brands and websites.

Farmers are encouraged to avoid purchasing goods online over public Wi-Fi, and to use a secure payment method with an extra layer of password protection.

When shopping online, it is advised to check for the padlock. If the website uses a ‘https’ web address and carries a security padlock in the browser, it means that any data entered is encrypted, making it harder for others to intercept.

Mr Jones said there were many things farmers could do to protect themselves online and minimise the chances of falling victim to a scam.

"I’d encourage all farmers to heed the advice being given around online scams and exercise extra caution before committing to online purchases,” he said.

The union added that if 'something seems too good to be true, it usually is’.