26 September 2023

Police warn parents as puppy scams bite

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South Australia Police (SAPOL) are warning hopeful puppy parents to be extra vigilant to avoid online puppy scams which have left even the most cautious people out of pocket.

In a statement, SAPOL said there had been a recent increase in fraudulent advertisements for puppies online, including on Facebook and Instagram.

“Scammers’ tactics are extremely sophisticated, which often leaves even the most vigilant people out of pocket,” SAPOL said.

“Typically, a scammer will create a website that looks legitimate and post photos of puppies for sale, using language that feels genuine,” it said.

“The website will show contact details and encourage you to get in touch to discuss the purchase of a puppy.

“Once the scammer has your interest and contact details they will work hard to entice you to make an online purchase, requesting a bank transfer or online sale.

“Again, this contact can feel incredibly genuine.”

SAPOL said scammers had been known to provide certificates that looked authentic, customer service emails and receipts from delivery companies.

It said valuable tips for potential purchasers included:

* Request to see the puppy in a video call;

* Verify if the breeder’s website or social media profile is legitimate;

* Perform a location search of the breeder’s address;

* Check Dogs SA’s directory of approved and accredited breeders;

* Compare pricing;

* Perform a search of the BSB provided by the seller;

* Be aware of bad grammar and spelling;

* Ask to view photos or videos of the puppy’s life; and

* Be aware of emotional manipulation.

SAPOL’s one-page fact sheet on puppy scams can be accessed at this PS News link.

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