Puppy scam losses in Western Australia totalling more than $28,000 were reported in June, prompting Consumer Protection to issue a new warning for consumers.
Consumer Protector advised buyers to be cautious when responding to advertisements on websites, trading sites and social media.
In the last month eighteen cases were reported with individual loses ranging from $150 to more than $5,000.
The commissioner for consumer protection has said that with COVID-19 restrictions and people working from home, there has been a boost in demand for puppies.
People have spent thousands of dollars only to not receive their much-wanted pet.
Consumer protection advised customers to do a few checks before responding to advertisements or sending any money.
These scams ask you to transfer the payment directly to a bank account or through a transfer service.
A fake shipping company then makes contact to confirm the purchase details and claims additional payment is required for things like insurance, immunisations and storage costs which will be fully refunded later.
In the end, no puppy is supplied, and the payment is virtually impossible to trace.
While WA ScamNet can take steps to remove fake websites, Facebook pages and adverts after reports are received, prevention remains the best remedy.
Other tips include:
- Verify the breeder information and their registered contact details (in WA they will be registered with Dogs West) to make contact
- Check whether the business has a registered Australian Business Number via www.abr.business.gov.au
- Be suspicious if the only form of accepted payment is via a bank transfer
- If paying online, always use a credit card or PayPal (which have avenues to dispute the transaction) rather than a bank or money service transfer.
More information about puppy scams is available at www.scamnet.wa.gov.au, or call 1300 304 054.