A new scam getting around Australia right now involves an extremely devious distraction tactic that’s been duping those looking for a new pet.

Scamwatch reckons the operation has conned more than $310,000 out of Australians over the last 12 months, with 584 reports made during that time.

Essentially, the scam works by setting up fake ads for puppies, targeting those who know exactly what they’re looking for. “Puppy scammers play on people’s emotions who have their heart set on a particular breed,” said Australian Competition and Consumer Commission deputy chair, Delia Rickard.

“Once they see that cute puppy picture in an ad, they drop their guard and tend to miss the warning signs they’re dealing with a scammer.”

These pieces of shit will advertise puppies they know are in demand, especially when it comes to pedigree breeds. “Reports to Scamwatch show the majority of people have been contacted by scammers via email or online through classified sites and even social media,” Rickard said.

Folks aged between 25 and 34 were the most common victims in the scam, with women being three times more likely to be caught out.

More often than not, the scam will involve some kind of elaborate lie, like telling the victim that the puppy is overseas or interstate and requesting a payment for transport or medical costs to have the animal delivered.

If they say the puppy is overseas, they might say the payment is needed for customs or quarantine problems.

“If you hear these tales from a ‘seller’, stop all communication with them. The puppy, sadly, isn’t real and if you make those payments, you’ll lose your money,” Rickard said.

Like so many other scams, she says it’s wise to trust the old saying – ‘If it seems too good to be true, it probably is’. “Don’t believe the ad is legitimate just because you see it on reputable websites, social media or even your favourite newspapers.”

Rickard also recommends searching the internet for the ad using its text verbatim. Often, they’ll spam the exact same wording all over the internet.

Stay safe out there, puppy wanters.

Source: News.com.au
Image: Scamwatch