Puppy scams increased during COVID-19 as buyers were unable to visit their new pets. , bBut even with restrictions easing, the numbers of scams are not.
Puppy scams have cost NSW residents $170,789 so far this year, with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission having received 163 reports.
That means that in the first six months of 2021, scammers have nearly doubled the amount they stole in the entirety of 2019, when they made $102,383.
“Scammers work best in vulnerable situations so it’s important consumers are remaining level-headed when purchasing a puppy,” NSW Fair Trading executive director of community engagement Andrew Gavrielatos said.
“What we’re seeing is scammers posting fake classified ads on websites, in the paper or on social media platforms and asking for thousands of dollars for a non-existent puppy.
“I don’t care what their reason is, if a seller cannot prove the puppy exists or makes excuses for why you cannot meet your puppy, that is a huge red flag.”
He said the safest option is always to meet the pet before deciding to pay the money.
“If that’s off the table, it might be best to hold off.”
Buyers should also check the credentials of the breeder and the normal price for the breed of dog.
“If the price of the puppy is significantly higher or lower than the going rate, that’s a good indicator that something’s not right.
“If you’re ever in doubt, just don’t commit to the sale.”