SWEETWATER COUNTY — The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office issued an alert on Monday about a recent classified advertisement scam.
Detective Dick Blust said the scam has been around for at least five years and is known in many circles as the “Kubota Tractor Scam.”
The ad in this instance lists for a sale a “2006 Kubota BX23 with backhoe, loader and mower. 4×4, well maintained (clean). I will deliver it! $2500, call/text, (205) 671-8986 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org”
Blust said a concerned citizen contacted the Sheriff’s Office about the ad because the 2006 Kubota described, a combination tractor-backhoe-loader, would normally cost at least $10,000.
The Sheriff’s Office has so far discovered the following concerning the scam’s resurgence:
- The ad surfaced recently in about a dozen places across the country, including Mississippi, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Wyoming, Idaho, Kansas, and Kentucky.
- The telephone number listed in the ad is that of a “text mail subscriber” for which no American listing could be identified as of Monday; nor could any American listing or identification be located for the email “email@example.com.”
Blust said the scam had been the subject of fraud reports on websites such as eBay and Craigslist.
“There are variations on how this particular scam is carried out, but they all amount to ‘send money’ up front for phony fees, taxes, partial payment,” etc.,” Blust said.
According to Blust recovering money sent to scammers can be impossible, “Very often the victims’ money winds up overseas, and recovery is virtually impossible. Always exercise caution when dealing with offers like this, especially when they seem too good to be true because they usually are.”