Yes, you read that right: scammers are stealing from hay farmers, but it really does affect us all.

Who Is It Targeting: Hay farmers

What Is It: A bait-and-switch scam that can target anyone

What Are They After: You might automatically think you’re safe from this one (unless you’re a hay farmer, of course), but it’s important to know that this is just one example of a very common scam that is currently making headlines. Officials in West Virginia and Texas have already received complaints of scammers who purchase hay from local farmers, then use a bait-and-switch payment scam to steal their money.

Again, this scam is nothing new, and it works well on high-dollar items like computers, iPads, or even agricultural goods: scammers pay for the item using a phony check, one that has been written for more than the amount they owe you. They realize their mistake and ask you to wire the surplus money to an address they provide. Unfortunately, the check was bogus so the “difference” comes out of the victim’s checking account. The victim is out the hay, and out the money he wired.

How Can You Avoid It:

  • Never agree to refund the difference in an “overpayment” situation involving strangers.
  • If there’s even a chance the mistake was honest, wait until the check clears before taking any action.
  • Don’t accept payment for more than the agreed upon amount in the first place.

Find more information about current scams and alerts here. For full details of this scam check out this article from

If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530.