Websites are luring victims with cute puppy pictures and asking for cash deposits
By Justyne Yuen-Lee
Credit: Instagram / @rollyteacuppuppies
Scammers steal photos from reputable breeders and pose them as their own puppies.
Four victims have come forward to the Cardinia Crime Investigation Unit in Australia admitting a loss of $10K to online puppy scams. Police fear that there could be as many as 20 more victims and are urging them to come forward. The total dollar amount scammed from these victims is upwards of $100K. Detective Senior Constable Angela Butler says that their evidence will be critical in stopping these scams.
Credit: Instagram / @pitbull_breeders
It is always important to ask for videos, certificates, and other qualifiers before sending money.
Detectives believe that these scams started as early as the beginning of 2017. Scammers use adorable puppy photos to lure buyers into making cash deposits with the promise of interstate transport, insurance and registration fees. The victims, however, never receive their puppy or their money back.
Credit: Instagram / @meetpuff
Reputable breeders usually watermark their photos and are always willing to have open communication with potential owners.
The website Pups4Sale has a “hall of shame” for active Australian websites that allow puppy scams to run on their page. Pups4Sale also has tips for prospective dog owners to be more vigilant in identifying scams.
Their tips to avoid a scam include:
- Ask breeder for details of their vet
- Never use any form of money transfer that can remain anonymous
- Ask for scans of important paperwork such as vaccination certificate, Canine Council membership, microchip certificate, and the like
- Watch out for poor English, grammar and spelling
- Make sure the business has a local, working Australian mobile number