Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association
Supply · Service · Stewardship

Indicators of Suspicious Purchasing Behavior - Report to IFCA

  • New customer who is not from local area.
  • Refusing to provide address where fertilizer will be used or delivered.  
  • Acting nervous or impatient.
  • Possessing little knowledge of crops, soil composition, field size, application methods, or fertilizers.
  • Purchasing large quantity of pesticides, combustibles, or fertilizers containing ammonium nitrate out of season or with cash.
  • Appearing to be interested only in ammonium nitrate; displaying no interest in alternative fertilizers or fertilizer combinations.
  • Seeking chemicals with weight in excess of fertilizer distributor capacity.
  • Making suspicious inquiries regarding equipment (e.g., tank size, spray range).
  • Asking about acquiring vehicles equipped for spraying or hauling (e.g., crop dusters, crop sprayers, fuel tankers).
  • Failing to state legitimate agricultural use for product.
  • Storing agricultural supplies in unusual containers.
  • Using a rental vehicle or a vehicle with an out-of-state or temporary license plate to transport items such as fertilizers containing ammonium nitrate (particularly 34-0-0) or other combustible materials in large proportions.
  • Using cash for large transactions or a credit card in someone else’s name.

It is important to remember that just because someone’ s speech, actions, eliefs, appearance, or way of life is different, it does not mean that he or she is suspicious.


Federal Bureau of Investigation Springfield Division Weapons of Mass Destruction Program

Be part of the solution.
  • Require valid ID from all new customers.
  • Keep records of purchases.
  • Talk to customers, ask questions, and listen to and observe their responses. 
  • Watch for people and actions that are out of place.
  • Make note of suspicious statements, people, and/or vehicles.
  • If something seems wrong, notify law enforcement authorities.

Do not jeopardize your safety or the safety of others.
Preventing terrorism is a community effort. By learning what to look for, you can make a positive contribution in the fight against terrorism. The partnership between the community and law enforcement is essential to the success of anti-terrorism efforts.

Some of the activities, taken individually, could be innocent and must be examined by law enforcement professionals in a larger context to determine whether there is a basis to investigate. The activities outlined on this handout are by no means all-inclusive but have been compiled from a review of terrorist events over several years.

SA Steffan Nass WMD Coordinator 217-522-9675

This project was supported by Grant Number 2007-MU-BX-K002, awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Each indictor listed above, is by itself, lawful conduct or behavior and may also constitute the exercise of rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. In addition, there may be a wholly innocent explanation for conduct or behavior that appears suspicious in nature. For this reason, no single indicator should be the sole basis for law enforcement action. The totality of behavioral indicators and other relevant circumstances should be evaluated when considering any law enforcement response or action.