Dear friend. How would you like to buy my slightly used, low hour tractor for just $5000? Yes, you could go to your local dealership and pay $65,000 for a new one, but why do that when I will ship mine to you for free? I really have no need for it anymore, it was used by our local church relief organization for disaster cleanup and we have no need for it anymore. Just send me the $5000 to my address here in South Africa and I’ll have my shipping company get the tractor right over to you.
Your friend.
Steve Smith.

Ever get a message like this? I hope not. I write this article with humility knowing that I, an intelligent college graduate with a degree in computer science once was conned into sending $350 to the Ukraine for a professional video camera that I coveted. After all, an orphanage there had used it to make a promotional video and had no need for it anymore. I am sure you are none too surprised to hear that I never received it.

Used tractor scams are all over the internet. It took only a minute to find the one from eBay pictured above. You can check eBay or Craigslist and find a half dozen new fraudulent listings from that afternoon alone. We all wish we could own the 125Hp, Power Shift monster for the cost of a garden tractor. Sadly that’s simply not possible.

A few red flags to look for.

Priced well below its market value.

Free Shipping! (It would cost approx $3000 to move this machine coast to coast)

Poor English, misspelled words.

Listed on multiple websites, with differing information.

Payments via western union.

Pressure and a rush to make the transaction before an auction ends.

Payments to a location other than where a machine is located.

Forwarding money from the seller to someone else for shipping or other services.

Ways to protect yourself.

Research the seller. Double check names, phone numbers, addresses against the phone directory. Call and talk to the person on the phone.

If possible, make a trip to see the physical machine you are considering purchasing. After all, a picture will never tell you if it’s mechanically sound.

You can search dealership inventory across the country using sites like These sites do not take public listings so scammers have a harder time getting on the site.

If possible, use a service like PayPal or a credit card that provide insurance on the transaction.

If an offer sounds highly suspicious or too good to be true, it probably is.

Using simple common sense will help you steer clear of these sellers. Don’t let yourself get caught up in the belief that you’ve found a deal. If you have any doubt, our community of tractor experts can help you evaluate what your considering. Equipment Forums