When Cindy Kirby noticed Highland cattle marketed on social media, she leapt at the alternative to purchase some cuddly companions of her personal.
- Demand for Highland cattle is driving a rise in on-line scams
- A cow and calf may be price greater than $15,000
- Rural police say patrons ought to do their analysis and seek the advice of with respected brokers earlier than making a purchase order
She waited 12 months for the cows to reach however mentioned the animals have been the excellent match for her cattle property close to Springsure, about 330 kilometres west of Rockhampton.
“I simply needed to convey one thing in for the new era, the little ones, I assume,” Ms Kirby mentioned.
“And they’re fairly cute and fluffy.”
With their shaggy locks and mild nature, Scottish Highland cattle are shortly changing into recognized as the social media stars of the bush.
Ms Kirby mentioned their photogenic look had seen the animal’s recognition skyrocket, notably amongst pastime farmers.
But the breed is niot simply fashionable with farmers, scammers have additionally taken discover.
Ms Kirby mentioned she needed to navigate a market full of faux advertisements to seek out her cattle.
“I might have spoken to a scammer a day a minimum of,” she mentioned.
“I assume you have acquired that larger demand and it is simply simpler for these scammers to slide in, mix in with the crowd.”
She mentioned the “rush” to pay money for cattle meant folks have been changing into extra prone to scams as potential patrons have been typically prepared to pay cash for animals that they had not seen.
“They’re as onerous to seek out as hen’s enamel, so that you’re prepared to place a deposit down since you assume another person will take them,” Ms Kirby mentioned.
“There’s sadly fairly just a few individuals who have paid and both gone to select them up or are sitting, ready for a truck to reach, that simply by no means comes.”
Social media stars
Queensland consultant to the Australian Highland Cattle Society Carolyn Keans mentioned the breed has seen curiosity spike as the cute cattle dominate social media.
“They’re smaller, they do not want a lot room and they do not want as a lot feed,” Ms Keans mentioned.
“They’re completely appropriate for somebody who has possibly 10 acres and they only need a few lovely animals to maintain their garden down and look good.
“Their recognition is basically taking off in that enviornment.”
Ms Keans mentioned the breed’s hovering recognition had additionally pushed up costs, which means those that fell sufferer to scams have been dropping out considerably.
“You’re about $15,000 for a registered cow and calf,” she mentioned.
“I had anyone contact me a few weeks in the past who really did get scammed.
“Unfortunately, as soon as you have paid for the animal or paid a deposit, there’s normally no getting that cash again.”
A ‘uncommon’ breed
Ms Keans runs the Queensland Highland Cattle Breeders Facebook group, which has greater than 1,000 members who promote animals on the market.
She mentioned new patrons could possibly be weak to scams if they didn’t perceive the market.
“We are one in all the fundamental breeders in Queensland, together with possibly half a dozen others,” she mentioned.
“So folks begin with us and when folks cannot get what they need, they unfold their search wider and that is once they become weak to scams.
“We solely have about 1,500 absolutely registered animals [in Australia].
“So that offers you an thought of how uncommon they’re.”
How to keep away from a rip-off
Ms Keans mentioned as soon as folks understood the promote it was simpler to sift via the scams.
She tells new patrons to ask for a cow’s distinctive National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) quantity and a video of the animal strolling.
“Australian regulation says you must have an NLIS tag for all cattle, so I ask for that quantity,” she mentioned.
“Then I ask for a video, it is simple to elevate a photograph, nevertheless it’s very, very onerous to be real if you cannot video your animal strolling about.”
Major and Organised Crime Squad Rural northern space co-ordinator Detective Senior Sergeant Paul Elliot mentioned scammers may simply reap the benefits of a purchaser’s lack of awareness.
“If it appears too good to be true, it most likely is,” he mentioned.
“Buyers have to be conscious that there are folks on the market attempting to take cash off different folks.
“Do your background checks, use folks you realize, do your checks on eartags and earmarks earlier than you even try to make the buy.”
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