Couple warns consumers about tractor and machinery ad scams suspected of swindling almost $400,000 - ABC News

5/05/2020 10:32:00 AM

'They got us a beauty': Farmers speak up about falling victim to tractor ad scam

Scam, Rural İssues

'They got us a beauty': Farmers speak up about falling victim to tractor ad scam

One WA couple who fell victim to a tractor ad scam want others to know about the dangers, as NT Consumer Affairs uncovers more than 20 similar sites.

Key points:NT Consumer Affairs has listed more than 20 farm machinery websites it believes are fakeGary and Verna Elks fell victim to a site that used a vacant block in the NT as its addressNT Consumer Affairs said people across Australia had lost $380,000 to these sites

The couple discovered a website advertising a $20,000 tractor and began the purchasing process, after conducting some checks to see if the offer was legitimate."As we're getting older we simply need a little more help," Mr Elks said."We just needed one with a bucket, we've got an old tractor but it hasn't got a bucket and it was just going to make life a little bit easier for us."

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Verna and Gary Elks needed to update their old tractor and found a deal that seemed too good to be true — and it was.I can’t believe I have to say this, but please don’t drink bleach.Former North Melbourne AFL coach Dean Laidley has been remanded in custody on stalking and other charges.WhatsApp A South Korean official says that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un did not undergo surgery during an almost three week absence from public life, a South Korean official said after the two nations exchanged gunfire at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the two sides.

Key points: NT Consumer Affairs has listed more than 20 farm machinery websites it believes are fake Gary and Verna Elks fell victim to a site that used a vacant block in the NT as its address NT Consumer Affairs said people across Australia had lost $380,000 to these sites The couple discovered a website advertising a $20,000 tractor and began the purchasing process, after conducting some checks to see if the offer was legitimate. "As we're getting older we simply need a little more help," Mr Elks said. "And also I haven’t seen anything that’s had this much of a detrimental effect on people’s health and their lives as we’ve seen with this pandemic. "We just needed one with a bucket, we've got an old tractor but it hasn't got a bucket and it was just going to make life a little bit easier for us. The father of three did not apply for bail and remained in custody on Sunday evening." Mr and Ms Elks initially received helpful emails, phone calls and were even given access to an online tracker to watch the tractor's journey to their small property in Western Australia." Associate Professor Adam Dunn leads biomedical informatics and digital health at the University of Sydney. But it never arrived. North Korean state media released this image they say is of leader Kim Jong-un at the fertiliser plant.

NT Consumer Affairs said websites like this lift images from other sites and misuse ABNs to appear legitimate. But Associate Professor Dunn says the fake news phenomenon is more complex than misinformation simply being disseminated from the top down, or from the bottom of society up. Mr Laidley played for North Melbourne between 1993 and 1997, and was the club's coach from 2003 to 2009. ( ) They said they were embarrassed but determined to expose the fraud. "It's the old adage, if it looks to good to be true it is, so just be really careful," Ms Elks said. READ MORE "Examples like the studies that originally came out as a pre-print and were withdrawn that suggested that the virus was engineered in a lab in Wuhan," he says. "You hear about people who get scammed on the internet and you think, 'you stupid idiots, how could you do that?' "Well, we're one of them and we thought we'd done all the right things." On closer investigation of the website Mr and Ms Elks had contacted, a street view map of the listed "tractor showroom" address revealed it was a vacant block in Darwin's industrial area." "Those sorts of things come from small places and from the bottom, but then get quickly amplified once they reach influential people at the more senior levels. Reclusive North Korea for years pursued nuclear and missile programmes in defiance of UN Security Council sanctions.

"It was a big blow, big, big blow," Ms Elks said. "A small farm the size of ours, it was a real hit in the guts, it's put us behind the eight ball now." Influencers should 'remain silent' on coronavirus Dr Harry Nespolon, president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, says public influencers with vast social media followings - whether they be lifestyle gurus or politicians - can best serve the fight against the pandemic by acknowledging they’re not epidemiology experts and simply remaining silent on the topic. "It destroys you when it happens," Mr Elks added. Gary Elks had hoped to upgrade his tractor for use on his family farm in Western Australia. So if you’ve got a celebrity that you’ve watched daily for potentially years, you believe that they will tell you the truth," he said. ( Supplied: Verna and Gary Elks ) .