ACCC barks warning about online puppy scams

Scammers have collected $35,000 from Australians in 2013 already says watchdog

Image credit:  Martin Cathrae (http://www.flickr.com/photos/suckamc/3047183157/ [Creative Commons])

Image credit: Martin Cathrae (http://www.flickr.com/photos/suckamc/3047183157/ [Creative Commons])

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is warning consumers to watch out for online puppy scams after $35,000 was reported lost by victims so far in 2013.

In 2012, the ACCC received over 700 complaints about fraudulent classified websites and newspaper advertisements selling puppies. Over $173,000 was reported as lost to scammers last year.

ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said that consumers are getting “sucked in” by ads for pedigree pups at prices that are “too good to be true.”

“Typically the seller tries to persuade the buyer to pay a fee for the dog without actually seeing it,” she said in a statement.

According to Rickard, victims are tricked into paying additional transport costs to their home from the buyer in Australia or overseas.

“When payment is subsequently made, the puppy is never delivered.”

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She also warned that scammers will place ads with reputable online classified sites or newspapers using adorable photos of the puppy to con people.

“I encourage you to do an Internet search using the exact wording in the ad as many well-known scams can be found this way,” Rickard said.

“If you are in doubt, contact a reputable breeders association for advice.”

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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