Avoiding Online Equipment Buying Scams

Agriculture isn’t immune to fraud, scams and other forms of criminal activity. Farmers and ranchers are urged to be extremely cautious of online scams. In today’s digital day and age, it’s critical to protect your personal and financial information and stay aware of potential risks that may cause you or your business harm.

What to Watch For

Fake dealer websites, identity theft and bait and switch are some of the most prevalent methods scammers use to commit fraud in the agricultural equipment space today. Be on the lookout for the common red flags associated with these types of fraud.

Scammer impersonates a dealer with a fake website.

Phone calls are often forwarded to a voicemail where the scammer can monitor calls. The bad actors call back potential buyers, gain their confidence and convince them to go through with the transaction.

Scammer uses stolen identity to purchase equipment.

The logistics or location of the deal don’t add up. For instance, a California buyer looking to make an equipment purchase in New Jersey.

Scammer uses bait and switch tactics.

The deal seems too good to be true, the seller rushes payment or gives new wiring instructions at the last minute.

Steps to Protect Against Online Equipment Scams

Here are some of the steps you can take to protect you and your operation.

Ask Questions

  • How confident are in you in the seller?
  • Have you worked with the seller before?
  • Have you met the seller in person or seen the equipment in person?
  • Is the seller pushing you to act quickly and wire money?


  • Google the seller by name and keep an eye out for any reports of recent scams in your search results.
  • Reference the Better Business Bureau to verify it is a recognized business entity and that the company hasn’t been compromised.
  • Pull up the address of the seller on Google Earth, or better yet visit the seller in person to confirm a brick-and-mortar location exists.
  • Insist on seeing the equipment. Request a video call to view the equipment when shopping from a distance.

Consult with Others

  • Read online comments from other buyers or reach out to other known buyers who have made a purchase with the seller before.
  • Research the seller and products independently and compare prices with other websites to ensure legitimacy.
  • Leverage the knowledge and relationships of your nearest AgDirect territory manager or other dealers in the area to determine whether the equipment is coming from a reputable seller.

Other Best Practices

  • Never transfer money to someone you don’t know. A demand for wired funds can be a red flag as scammers often don’t have a way to cash checks.
  • Safely store documents that have your personal information, including financial documents.
  • Contact your credit bureau to lock or freeze your credit to prevent unauthorized access to your credit reports.

How AgDirect Helps Identify and Prevent Fraud

In addition to maintaining high security standards and using countermeasures to ensure your personal financial data remains confidential, AgDirect uses these technology platforms to protect our customers and dealers.

Identity Verification Software

Every applicant who submits an online application with AgDirect is automatically sent a link to capture a photo of their driver’s license and a selfie image. Artificial intelligence and advanced authenticity algorithms are used to analyze the images and determine whether the person is who they claim to be.

Digital Content Authenticity Software

AgDirect is able to verify machinery listings by using an application that detects whether a photo of the equipment is real or if it has been manipulated in any way.

Other Fraud Resources

Additional tips and resources for protecting yourself from fraud can be found at these websites:

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