The Coronavirus restrictions across Australia has been responsible for a surge in pet adoptions but it has also seen a huge spike in ‘puppy scams’ according to The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
The trade authorities have said that almost $300,000 have been lost to puppy scams in 2020, which is five times higher than average.
Puppy ‘panic buyers’ who were seeking a pet during isolation were targeting when looking for popular Cavoodles and French Bulldogs.
“A lot of people are stuck at home and going online to buy a pet to help them get through the loneliness of social isolation,” says ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard.
“Unfortunately the rush to get a new pet and the unusual circumstances of COVID-19 makes it harder to work out what’s real or a scam.”
According to Ms Rickard, they were using fake websites, ads on online classified and social media.
They ask for an upfront payment to secure the pet, while others had increased their prices due to demand.
“Once you have paid the initial deposit, the scammer will find new ways to ask for more money, and scammers are now using the COVID-19 pandemic to claim higher transportation costs to get across closed interstate borders or additional fees for ‘coronavirus treatments’,” she says.
“Unfortunately once you make the payments, the seller will cease all contact.”
Another word of warning was “If the price looks too good to be true, it probably is.’