Tractor ‘scam’ plot thickens…from Lithuania to Limerick

On Wednesday, March 15, Agriland reported on the curious case of an alleged ‘Irish tractor scam’, in which a Lithuanian woman was reportedly conned out of €19,000.

The story was originally brought to the attention of the public on RTE’s Liveline, hosted by Joe Duffy.

Also Read: Irish tractor ‘scam’ allegedly costs Lithuanian woman €19,000

Interestingly, the plot has thickened further over recent days – on the back of continued coverage on Liveline.

Originally, a Lithuanian woman named Giedre, told Joe Duffy’s Liveline listeners how she has allegedly lost close to €19,000 through an Irish-based tractor ‘scam’. She said that she fell victim to a fraud, which led her to hand over €19,000 to a tractor dealership that doesn’t exist.

Her family was looking to buy a tractor in order to start farming in Lithuania. She told Joe that she found the ‘tractor dealership’ online. It is believed that Permanent TSB, on Old Bawn Road in Tallaght, Dublin 24, is the bank to which the Lithuanian family transferred the money to – thinking it was an account belonging to the tractor dealership.

‘Fake’ Limerick tractor dealership

It later emerged that the ‘fake’ tractor dealership lists a Limerick location and phone number on its website.

The name of the ‘fake’ business, on its website, is Sam Cross Farming Limited. Joe Duffy was quick to point out that there is a legitimate company, also in Limerick, called Sam Cross Farming which “has nothing to do with this”.

It then became apparent that the pictures used on the ‘Sam Cross Farming Limited’ dealership website were copied from legitimate farm machinery companies – including UK-based Farol Limited.

Farol Limited is a long-established business and is a John Deere dealer for Central and Southern England. It has multiple depots.

Some of the pictures were also taken from Farol Transport’s website – a division of Farol Limited.

Farol Limited’s Sales Director, Guy Champion, spoke with Joe on air, to voice his concerns – over the unauthorised use of his company’s pictures. He noted how the fraudsters had even modified the pictures to ‘insert’ Irish number plates in place of the UK ones.

“They must have a degree in Photoshop; some of the pictures have Irish number plates on our machines.” he exclaimed.

Liveline Sam Cross Farming Limited

When Agriland viewed the ‘Sam Cross Farming Limited’ dealership website, it was evident that the fraudsters had gone to extreme lengths – even ‘modifying’ sign-writing on pictures of delivery trucks and buildings – to create the impression of a large, busy garage in the ‘061’ area.

Champion said that he contacted the ‘fake’ dealership, by dialling the ‘Limerick’ number on the website.

You could tell they don’t have Irish accidents; they sounded Eastern European.”

He warned listeners to be careful, when looking at tractors online – especially if it seems ‘too good to be true’. He said that one of the second-hand tractors for sale on the ‘fake’ website was priced at €17,000. Noting that this was completely out of line with market values, he explained that a similar tractor in Farol Limited’s forecourt was priced at £36,000 – over twice as much.

Watch this space…