Scammers are using cute puppy photos to suck buyers in.
Scammers are using cute puppy photos to suck buyers in. Erin Smith

ACCC cracking down on pedigree puppy scams

PUPPY scams have cost consumers $35,000 already this year, Australia's consumer watchdog has revealed.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission received more than 700 complaints last year about fraudulent ads in newspapers and classifieds websites selling puppies that may not even exist.

ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said buyers needed to watch out for these puppy scams.

"If you are looking for a new puppy be careful of classified ads for pedigree pups at prices that are too good to be true," Ms Rickard said.

"Scammers use adorable photos of puppies in these ads to suck you in. Sadly, over a quarter of people who come into contact with these scammers lose money to them, with $173,000 reported lost last year."

Typically dodgy sellers try to persuade a buyer to pay a fee for the dog without them actually seeing it.

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.

Ms Rickard said people should not trust a classified ad just because it appears in a reputable newspaper or online classifieds website.

She said people should also avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for up-front payment via money order or international wire transfer.

"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," she said.

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

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