Hackers use Limerick farmers’ name to create fake website

Hackers use Limerick farmers’ name to create fake website

The fake Sam Cross Farming website

A HIGHLY respected County Limerick family have had their identity stolen by Russian hackers.

Anthony Cross, Ballyneety, used his initials and his sons, Michael and Seamus, to register a company called Sam Cross Farming Limited in 2000.

The scam artists used that name to create a professionally designed website purporting to sell plant and farm machinery called Sam Cross Farming Limited. They expertly photoshopped the Sam Cross logo and contact details on to trucks and buildings stolen from the website of Farol Transport, a machinery dealership in the UK.

The fake website, which was still live this Wednesday afternoon, reads: “Please let our experienced sales and parts staff help you with your needs. We have gained an enviable reputation for providing reliable and quality products throughout the world and pride ourselves on supplying a prompt, reliable and helpful service at all times. We are confident that the quality of our equipment and standard of service is second to none.”

The fraud was laid bare when a woman from Lithuania phoned Liveline to claim that the dealership had defrauded her out of €19,000.

Giedre said she and her husband were looking to buy a tractor. They searched the internet and found a company called Sam Cross Farming Limited, based in Limerick, that was selling tractors for a good price.

“We got in contact with the company and they called us on several occasions before sending a formal invoice for a tractor worth €19,000,” she told Joe Duffy.

The dealership allegedly instructed Giedre and her husband to send the money, which the couple had borrowed, to an account in TSB, Old Bawn, Tallaght, Dublin 24. However, she they had no further contact from the company after they sent the money. Giedre said her bank in Lithuania has been on to TSB telling it to hold the money, but she is not hopeful of ever seeing it again.

The first Anthony Cross knew of any of this was a couple of weeks ago when he started getting phone calls from individuals interested in buying tractors from Sam Cross.

“I said we have no tractors for sale, that we are not in that scene at all. I think we got one or two more calls after that. I thought it was all very strange. Then I got a call from the company in England [Farol Transport] asking were we selling machinery? I said ‘no’ and it was then he informed me that it was on a website,” said Mr Cross.

He said it is “amazing” how the hackers can take their name and make the whole thing up. 

“The even have a Limerick phone number. It’s not a nice thing to happen and to the poor lady who was caught for €19,000,” said Mr Cross. 

The person who contacted Mr Cross from Farol Transport in England told him they were going contacting the authorities.

“They informed me they were going to look into it with the police over there and try to get it taken down. It is still up there so hopefully the police can get the website taken down,” said Mr Cross.

Guy Champion, of Farol Transport. also rang Liveline. He said that the Sam Cross Farming website is being hosted in Russia and that he rang them up a few times to tell them they are frauds.

Mr Champion told Joe Duffy that the Sam Cross logo had been photoshopped “very effectively” onto images of buildings and machinery from Farol Transport’s website.

An email from this reporter’s personal email address to the contact email address on the website sam.cross.farming@gmail

.com went unanswered. And the phone number listed – 061 748547 – rang out.