Beware of scammers when looking for a pet or puppy

CBOS advises that consumers looking for a new pet or puppy are warned of an increase in related scams.

According to data from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in 2021, Australians lost over $2.5 million to pet scams. Since 1 January 2022, CBOS has received three enquiries relating to puppy scams, representing a total loss of over $3,500.

Scammers use online marketplace websites, social media channels and instant-messaging apps to target victims.

Most commonly, scammers will use generic pictures of sought-after breeds and ask for deposits or transport costs upfront. They may ask for payment in cryptocurrency or bank transfer, using advanced methods to make the payments hard to trace.

CBOS recommends using the following methods to ensure you are not left out-of-pocket:

  • Consider adopting or buying a pet you can meet in person
  • Seek advice from a reputable breeders association, vet or local pet shop
  • Never transfer money or online currency to, or share bank account details with, someone who is not a trusted breeder or seller

If someone has been scammed, they should contact their bank or financial institution as soon as possible, while people can report scams to the ACCC by visiting http://www.scamwatch.gov.au/report-a-scam.

Updated: 17 Mar 2022

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