A Queensland based producer was recently shocked to learn that his cattle had been falsely advertised for sale online under a fake alias.
Travis Parry operates a Speckle Park breeding operation across his family's 1300 acre property at Blair Plains in the foothills of Blue Mountain, Qld.
His Speckle Park cattle were recently advertised for sale on the social media platform Facebook under a false name.
Mr Parry said he was flagged about the fraudulent sale by a woman based in Victoria who had come across the advertisement online.
"It was a lady that was an admin of a Victorian agricultural town down that way who must have recognised me from online and said, hey there's a guy posing and using your imagery with a different name," he said.
"He's got photos of your Speckles and has done a little spiel up about them being vaccinated, ready to go and needed to be sold.
"She picked up on it straight away and knew that it was wrong and contacted me to let me know."
Mr Parry said he was aware of online scams targeting livestock producers.
"I've seen those sorts of scams before and I'm pretty aware of them because quite often they're a little too good to be true," he said.
"Or some of the telltale signs are some of the imagery they use, you can work out pretty quickly like hey, that landscape looks like a photo from America, England or somewhere like that."
Mr Parry said he also received messages from individuals based in America flagging that the post had also been shared on agricultural pages in Missouri and Iowa.
The fake profile used an image of Mr Parry and posed under the name 'Austine Levy' with images of his Speckle Park cattle.
The false advertisement claimed Mr Parry was relocating and wanted his cows rehomed to a loving and caring family with the animals shots and vaccines up to date.
The scammer prompted interested individuals to send a private message for further information.
"It's a bit bizarre because they use your profile picture and then your images of your cattle, but they aren't selling them as "Travis Parry", they use some random name," Mr Parry said.
"Nothing overly advert happened to me directly, but some poor bugger out there looking for a cheap deal gets convinced that it's a good deal, gets asked to pay a "holding deposit" because there's a lot of interest and they're the ones that get scammed.
"It's a bit sophisticated, but can be easy to identify, but it's absolutely rife throughout Facebook at the moment and I hate to think of how many people have been done in."
Mr Parry said reporting the scam to the social media giant had proved challenging.
"It's been extremely difficult to report these fake profiles and scams because Facebook and Instagram can't find anything to flag even with detailed reports," he said.
"I was most disappointed that I reported it to Facebook, and a lot of other people reported it as well, and every single one was knocked back as there wasn't anything suspicious or no issue.
"It's not as if you can take that matter any further, you can do an initial report and whatever Facebook does, it does, but I had no way of being able to prove to Facebook beyond that.
"That's all we can do really is make people aware that these sorts of scams are happening."
A Queensland Police spokesperson said cattle sale fraud was similar to other online scams, such as pet, electronic equipment and vehicle scams, which had increased over the past year.
"We are aware of livestock being used as another commodity in fake sales on social media platforms or through posting fake ads on legitimate classified websites," the spokesperson said.
"Prospective cattle buyers should always be aware of the possibility that a sale or vendor may not be genuine."
The Queensland Police Service team outlined the following tips to avoid being scammed:
"If you have been scammed you can make a report online via ReportCyber," the spokesperson said.
"If you have lost money, notify your bank immediately."
To learn more about scams visit the Scam Watch website.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.