Fruit Picking Scam
We received a lot of emails about scam artists that had been posting fruit picking vacancies on various job boards claiming they had vacancies at their farm. This group of scammers have been asking Harvest Workers to pay 1-2 weeks rent up front to secure their position on the farm. Once a deposit is made into the account, the correspondence with the potential employee stops. Pathetic & Disgusting! The three most recent farms they used were,
Sunny Farms www.sunnyfarms.net
Eastwood Farm http://eastwood.org.au/index.html
Svandis Valley Farm http://svandisvalleysfarm.net.au/index.html
All these websites are now offline,but curtesy of www.waybackwhen.com.au we’re able to pull up what their standard template looked like .
This standard message was on the every home page, with family members named change. They we’re cunning enough to have the name on the website match the name the URL it was registered too. This was a thought out and deliberate act. For example on this website, http://svandisvalleysfarm.net.au/index.html it was listed as ” Michaels” Farm who was also listed as the owner on whois.com.au . These guys we’re also very lazy so they continued to use the same template as shown above.( Refer to Appendix Below 1 & 2)
Here’s some messages and emails from members – check them out below :(
Hey, I have just been scammed by a guy whose name is Mike O’Malley or Jonathan Ballard. This are his websites.
I paid for a week in advance (at least I did’t paid for the awesome offer of two weeks with 25% off!!). I know, I know… I am thinking the same as you right now. Well, the thing is that I need to know what to do now! I called the bank and there is a possibility of cancelling the transaction, but I would like very much to give back the favor to this a*****e. Where can I report the scam?
help me out guys!
The scammers put ads on gumtree for different parts of australia. I received two emails, one for dalby, qld and another for parkes, nsw. They say “sorry but our first group just filled up 10 minutes ago…..” and eventually ask for two weeks of accomodations ($200) upfront to join their second group. The names of the “farm managers” change but the scam is the same. Watch out for these dickheads!
I saw an ad here on working holiday jobs which read something like ‘apple pickers needed for immediate start’ it said there was something like 10 or 20 positions available in Tenterfield working for a guy called Justin Dale and there was camping available. I sent my cv to the email on the ad email@example.com and got a reply saying that the first group had been filled already but there was a second group starting in a couple of weeks and there was still 14 places available but there was a lot of interest so register fast to secure a place. It paid 20.65 an hour, time and a half on saturdays, 40-60 hours a week, all equipment provided except hat and suncream and eligable for second year visa and there was a link to their own website. Sounded perfect. There was no more camping at the farm because it was too messy for the farmer but there were ten places in a sharehouse next to the farm (where there was 4 dollar meals) available but you had to pay the first weeks rent in advance and it was on a first come first served basis. You could either pay with a bank transfer or make a payment on the australia post website but a bank transfer would take 24-36 hours to be confirmed. On reflection it should have been obvious but i was so desperate because i had no luck so far finding farm work and had run out of money and they distracted you with all the other details and put a lot of pressure to pay quickly so i sent of the last of the money i’d had to borrow from my dad, resigned myself to sleeping in the car and living off tuna until work started because then everything would be ok i’d be earning decent money, sat back and waited for my confirmation email which never came. Be warned, never pay anything up front.
This really disgusts me to be honest, misleading people and stealing from them is just not acceptable. Especially that the vast majority of those scammed are visitors to our great country Australia. What kind of Hospitality are we showing? It’s terrible and I hope these con artists are caught.
The lesson learnt here is don’t pay your deposit up front to strangers, obviously each situation is different, like say you had 5 friends that had previously worked there and can vouch for the employer and you trust them, but overall, simply don’t go sending your money to strangers as we can see, it doesn’t always come back!
Please share all your stories and experiences below.
All the Best,
Dimi & Freddie
Fruit Picking Jobs Australia
Appendix 1 – Standard Msg
We are a family of 4. Micheal and Melissa and our 2 kids, Katie 2 yrs and Chris 1 yrs.
Our farm is our bit of paradise and we run sheep, cattle, horses.
We like to live a natural life so we grow our own vegetables, fruit, chickens, lamb and beef and milk a cow.
On our winter weekends, we like to go to Polocrosse which is a horse sport, and we camp out in tents and a caravan.
We live a simple life that we love.Farming is an economically and culturally important part of life in Australia.
All websites have a standard template and as you can see from the whois search the owner name matches up with that on the website.
Appendix 2 – Whois.com.au
Domain Name svandisvalleysfarm.net.au
Last Modified 16-Jul-2013 05:46:54 UTC
Registrar ID GoDaddy
Registrar Name GoDaddy.com, LLC
Registrant ID ABN 87230495716
Eligibility Type Sole Trader
Registrant Contact ID CR147278326
Registrant Contact Name Micheal Malley
Registrant Contact Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tech Contact ID CR147278327
Tech Contact Name Micheal Malley
Tech Contact Email email@example.com
Name Server ns67.domaincontrol.com
Name Server ns68.domaincontrol.com