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Watch Out For Online Puppy Scams

SA Police has seen a recent increase in fraudulent advertisements for puppies online. Scammers’ tactics are extremely sophisticated which often leaves even the most vigilant people out of pocket.

Typically, a scammer will create a website that looks legitimate and post photos of puppies for sale, using language that feels genuine. The website will show contact details and encourage you to get in touch to discuss the purchase of a puppy.

Here is screenshot of a website that a scammer created which has since been taken down:

Puppy scam website example. Name has been blurred.

These scams have also taken place on Facebook and Instagram so it’s important to be vigilant on those platforms too.

Once the scammer has your interest and contact details they will work hard to entice you to make an online purchase, requesting a bank transfer or online sale. Again, this contact can feel incredibly genuine.

Scammers have been known to provide certificates that look authentic, customer service emails and receipts from delivery companies.

In one example, the scammer completed the sale of a puppy and then tried to scam further payments due to shipping errors. The scammer told the purchaser that the puppy was being held in shipping containers and needed payment to be released. They tried to emotionally blackmail the purchaser out of further money.

Puppies can be bought safely online but it’s important you remain vigilant to potential scams. If you’re ever looking to purchase a puppy online, please follow these valuable tips:

  • Request to see the puppy in a video call with the breeder.
  • Verify if the breeder’s website or social media profile is legitimate.
  • Perform a location search of the breeder’s address.
  • Check Dogs SA’s directory of approved and accredited breeders.
  • Compare pricing because ‘if it’s too good to be true, it probably is’.
  • Request a full financial breakdown of services required in advance.
  • Perform a search of the BSB provided by the seller.
  • Be aware of bad grammar and spelling. Sentence structure is often incorrect or rigid.
  • Ask to view photos or videos of the puppy’s life and ongoing photos or videos if the puppy is still in the breeder’s care.
  • Be aware of emotional manipulation.

Find out more by clicking here.

For more online safety and scam awareness information visit www.police.sa.gov.au/scams and make sure you report scams to www.cyber.gov.au/report.