An urgent warning has been issued about widespread puppy scams that are heartbreaking for victims, including a mother who lost $10,000.
On Monday, Victoria Police urged keen pet owners to be vigilant as detectives investigate hundreds of cases in which people have lost thousands of dollars after being scammed.
In one case reported to police, a mother believed she bought two French bulldog puppies online for $5,000 each from what she believed to be a credible seller.
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She had planned to keep one and give one to her daughter as a gift, but after the money was transferred, she received no further contact from the seller.
In another case reported to investigators, a man tried to buy a Blue Staffordshire Bull Terrier on Facebook Marketplace as a surprise wedding gift for his fiancé.
The scammer provided information about the puppy, but then cut off contact after paying a deposit.
Detectives said that in most cases, the puppies are for sale on websites on online marketplaces that appear professional.
When asked about the animals, victims are given a photo and asked to pay a cash deposit, which may include interstate transportation, insurance and interstate travel expenses.
Communication is usually via email, SMS, online or telephone, and casualties ranging from $700 to $10,000 have been reported to police.
“Not only do victims lose a significant financial amount, this type of scam takes a tremendous emotional toll on people who are devastated at being taken advantage of after trying to bring a puppy into their lives,” Brimbank CIU Acting Detective Sergeant Laura Montgomery said in a statement.
The most common breeds scammers use are Cavoodles, French Bulldogs, Mini Teacup Puppies, Golden Retrievers, Corgies, and Dachshunds.
Here’s how to avoid becoming a victim of puppy scams
Victoria Police said people could remain vigilant and avoid being scammed in various ways.
- Do a reverse text and image search on all photos sent by the seller and if they appear on multiple sites, it’s probably a scam.
- Try meeting the seller in person before handing over any money, or alternatively, ask for a video call where they hold the puppy.
- Be wary of cheap puppies being sold online.
- Do not immediately agree to pay any additional costs, including shipping costs or vet bills.
- Beware of sellers who don’t want to communicate over the phone.
- Puppy buyers can also contact the respected breeders association Dog’s Victoria for information on the seller.
https://7news.com.au/lifestyle/pets/victoria-police-warn-of-puppy-scams-after-melbourne-mum-loses-10000-buying-french-bulldogs–c-8119981 Victoria Police warn of puppy scam after Melbourne mother lost $10,000 buying French bulldogs