Be on high alert for cattle theft and scams as COVID-19 spreads

Criminals and scam artists are always willing to take advantage of desperate times.


Source: Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association

via Beef Magazine - Mar 20, 2020


“You may feel like you need to get in a hurry to sell some cattle before it gets worse or get in a hurry to buy while the prices are low. But please slow down and be prudent, because con men and thieves are taking advantage of this situation,” says Scott Williamson, executive director of law enforcement, brand and inspection services for Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.


“Economic and industry distress always increases the number of desperate people that will take fraudulent, dishonorable and criminal actions,” he added.


That desperation works both ways — more people turning to theft and deception to make ends meet and more people buying or selling in a panicked state that may have clouded their judgment.


The coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the cattle market has been dramatic already. But that’s not the only threat to ranchers’ livelihood, according to Williamson, who said thefts and scams targeting cattlemen are on the rise, too.


He said it’s especially important to be careful when buying or selling over the internet.


“Be extremely wary,” he said. “Be sure you have some way to absolutely confirm who that person is. My suggestion is don’t do any business without being able to tangibly lay your eyes on it or meet someone. I know that seems like overkill to some people, but you just can’t be too careful.”


Williamson received a call that proved his point. A cattleman had purchased a truckload of cows represented as one thing, but when they arrived, they were another. Unfortunately, he had already wired the money.


“This gets especially dangerous because your perception or agreements over the phone do not likely predicate a criminal charge or investigation,” Williamson said.


He offered the following tips for avoiding fraud ...


To prevent theft, Williamson advises ranchers to ...


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