Growers warned to be vigilant of utility contract scam

Farming businesses have been warned of the dangers of scammers and cold callers amid a recent increase in reported incidents.

New scam reports have been received by the Farmers' Union of Wales (FUW), with many regarding new utility contracts.

These phone calls and emails, which often end up with the person agreeing to a new contract, are legally binding in many cases and difficult to get out of.

New research from the National Cyber Security Centre and the NFU shows that in 2019, more than 60% of farmers reported one or more digital attacks.

This number is set to continue rising, as more farming businesses have made the switch to the digital world during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"I urge members to remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is," said FUW Carmarthen County Executive Officer, David Waters.

He added that farming businesses were being targeted because they were often isolated and vulnerable to scams.

A large proportion of fraud crimes involve criminal gangs targeting specific groups, including the agricultural community, he said.

“Never make any rushed decisions and don’t feel pressured into making a decision on the spot," Mr Waters added.

"If, for example, a telephone caller is genuine they will allow you time to think about things and for you to be able to call them back later or review their offer in writing.

“The people who carry out these scams are convincing, it is what they do for a day job, but there is assistance out there from Trading Standards and the police.

"Remember that it is important to report scams, no matter how small, so that they can be fully investigated and to ensure that support is given to the individuals concerned.”

Source: Farming UK