Here’s What I’m Doing to Avoid Being Caught Up in A Puppy Scam

In November last year, we lost our much-loved family dog. We were all so devasted. Harley was a very handsome black and white Cavoodle who died from a paralysis tick bite after giving us 12 years of love. After lots of tears and weeks of sadness, we have decided it’s time to start our search for another fur baby.

But it seems we are not the only ones in the market for a new puppy. Thanks to COVID and our new very home focussed lives, puppies have been in hot demand since early 2020 and they still are. What better way to deal with lockdown loneliness and a home-based existence than a brand-new ball of fluff!

Over the last few weeks, I’ve spoken to multiple breeders from all around Australia who have over 50 families waiting for a puppy! A Portuguese Water Dog breeder told me yesterday that it would be 2023 before she could offer me a puppy!! So,

And this trend hasn’t gone unnoticed by cybercriminals with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) reporting a four-fold increase in puppy scams in 2020!! In fact, a whopping $1.6 million was scammed from unsuspecting Aussies simply looking for a ball of fur to love between January and October 2020.

So, how do you avoid being caught up in a puppy scam and losing money? Here’s what I’m doing to ensure we don’t get swindled while we search for our new puppy:

1. Take Your Time

Cybercriminals rely on us being in a rush and not doing our homework. A quick google search for popular dog breeds such as Cavoodles, Labradors or Dachshunds will yield pages of results, not all of them legit!

Scammers are very talented at making their sites look genuine. They will copy photos of puppies and breeders from legitimate sites and will even use certificates and identification numbers from these legitimate breeders too. Quite often the only detail that differs is the contact telephone number and email address.

Facebook and Instagram ads are also created using these details too making it very hard to identify what is legitimate and what isn’t.

2. Do Your Homework

Doing your due diligence is the best way to prevent becoming a victim of a puppy scam. Even if the person on the end of the phone sounds delightful and the pictures are gorgeous, you owe it to yourself – and your bank account – to ensure you are dealing with a legitimate breeder. Here’s what I recommend you do:

  • Google the name of the breeder to ascertain whether they have NOT been caught up in a scam.
  • Always ring the association that the breeder says they are registered with and crosscheck all the information you have been given.
  • As most puppies come vaccinated and microchipped, ask the breeder to share contact details of the veterinary clinic the puppy has been to.

3. Photos and Video Chat

If you are not able to pick up your pet in person, requesting photos and even a video call with the breeder and your potential puppy is essential.

Ask the breeder for multiple photos of the pet with specific items – this help you ascertain that the pet is real and not photoshopped. A recent newspaper is a great item to suggest.

However, a video call is probably the best way of giving you total piece of mind. Yes, it maybe crazy and noisy but there’s nothing like seeing something with your own eyes to satisfy yourself that it is real and not photoshopped!

4. Trust Your Gut

We all have a 6th sense and now is the time to use it:

  • If the breeder is trying to push for the sale as they are moving to a new house or are unwell, be suspicious.
  • If the breeder is putting pressure on you to deposit funds to secure your puppy ASAP, be suspicious.
  • If the breeder is asking an inflated price for the pet, be suspicious. Do your research so you know what an average asking price would be.
  • If email communication with breeder has signs of broken English or poor grammar, be very suspicious.

I can’t imagine our family without pets. They play such an important, cohesive role and we take such joy in sharing photos of our crazy cats and their weird antics on our family group chat.

Next week, we are going to pickup our new puppy. After much debate about breeds, we have chosen a tri coloured beaglier – male of course! The breeder sounds delightful over the phone and the pictures are gorgeous. But just to ensure total piece of mind, I am driving nearly 7 hours to pick up our new fur baby in person. I’ll be sure to share some photos!

Happy pet shopping!

Alex xx

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