It was just a John Deere tractor but it was a SCAM


It’s getting so you can’t trust any classified advertiser, almost to the extent that if it’s not someone you already know, or someone who lives in the community, don’t accept their ad. We get alerts all the time from newspapers who are suspicious of an ad and want us to check it out or to see if we’ve heard anything about an ad similar. More often than not, it’s too late. The newspaper has already published the ad, or other newspapers have, so the scam is in process.


This is a three-parter. The first is a letter from an apparent soldier who is explaining why she needs to sell a John Deere tractor.

The second is the ad at right that shows the tractor for sale, being advertised this way in at least a couple of Kentucky newspapers.

The third part is a letter to those two newspapers talking about the ad, how it’s scam, and how the scam works. The letter comes from the Attorney General’s Office, Office of Senior Protection and Mediation.

Note in the AG’s letter is a LINK to the Scam Alerts page. Check that periodically to see if an ad you’re received might be listed already. Or a similar ad. Encourage your readers to access the Scam Alerts from the AG’s Office to avoid being ripped off.


My name is Molly, My 1992 John Deere 5400 Tractor 4WD compact utility tractor w loader is still for sale It has .4WD,Rops, 9×3 trans, 3 remotes, JD 540 QT Loader, 7′ QT bucket, joystick, JD 10A frame mount backhoe, 12” bucket, 16.9×30 60%, 11.2×24 30%, toolbox, we have the 3pt arms,, the tractor has only 1400 hours.The 60 HP engine runs very good

It has a clean and clear title in my name and there are no liens or loans on it. This tractor was used by my husband who died 4 months ago. The price was reduced to $2,000.00 because I’m in a hurry to find a buyer. I need to sell the tractor before the 23th of this month, when I will be leaving on military duty with my medical team out of the country for a year and I do not want to store my tractor. I hate to sell it but it’s not worth keeping insurance and paying storage fees for a year.

My tractor right now is located at our military base in Cavalier, ND, stored with all the papers and is ready to be shipped.As I’ve told you, I’m in the army with my military medical team and right now I am in a military base. We are training, getting ready for leaving the country. Before leaving I had prearranged the deal with eBay services so my presence isn’t necessary. The delivery process will be managed by me. I think I can have it there at your home address within 2-3 working days. It will come with a clear title and reg. You will have 5 days to test and inspect the tractor prior to make any purchase. During that 5 days testing period I will not be getting any money. I need to know if you are interested so I can ask eBay to send you the details on this deal. If interested please include in your next email your contact info for eBay (full name, shipping address and phone number), so we can get the ball rolling.

To support my argument regarding the condition of the tractor, I’ve attached more pictures to this email.

Have a great day,

SGT. Molly Carter



The 502 number attached with the ad is a textmail or “Google mail” number, which, is often used among scammers on VOIP technology [voice over internet protocol]. VOIP technology is regularly used by scammers and con-artists since all it requires for them to spoof an American based phone-line is to simply have an internet connection anywhere on the globe, leaving it nearly impossible to trace. You mentioned that your records indicate a “Brian Dunlap” of Lexington purchased the online ad, however, that would additionally support suspicions since a 502 number had been selected for use.

Although this ad reflects the sale of a tractor, I would keep an eye on vehicles, other large equipment pieces, or really any product/service being advertised and attached with this number.

The interested buyer never gets to speak with a live individual, it is all via text and then you are quickly connected via email to the poster’s “aunt”, a “SGT. Molly Carter”. You can see the details of this final interaction that followed a series of texts in the email below, and please know that the original email included very generic photos of the supposed tractor for sale. Anyone familiar with agribusiness industry machinery recognizes quickly the grossly underpriced machine being advertised; an additional component for this particular consumer’s suspicion in reporting her experience to our office.

Our office has additionally verified with the Cavalier Air Force Station in North Dakota that this individual does not reside there as a member of their installation. The military base has, in fact, received multiple calls across the country recently purporting the same scheme via local newspaper postings and online sales databases [eBay, Craigslist]. We are in the process of verifying if any member of the military shares this name/rank, and if so, will bring to their attention a con-artist is using their name among scam solicitations should they personally receive calls.

If you have any questions about this information, please let me know. Scammers are consistently shape-shifting their tactics when approaching consumers, and these reports allow us to keep an up to date pulse for what is taking place throughout the state. It remains clear that as many safeguards are in place, scammers continue to reach consumer bases in reputable formats.

If you are interested, here is the LINK to our Scam Alerts page that allows you to sign up to receive a text or email when a new alert has been issued by our office; it also includes tips to help you and loved ones protect yourselves from scammers.

Thank you again for speaking with me about this and for being willing to share with your association/network of contacts. Never hesitate to call if we can assist you.; my contact information is below.

Take care,

Kelly Taulbee, Executive Advisor

Office of Senior Protection & Mediation

Office of the Attorney General

1024 Capital Center Drive, Suite 200

Frankfort, Kentucky 40601

Phone: 502.696.5327

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