Queensland Police have issued a warning to potential pet owners looking to buy a furry friend this Christmas.
Authorities are urging Queenslanders to remain wary when on the hunt for a pet, with “scammers continuing to use the cute and cuddlies and the warm and fuzzies to tug on people’s heart strings and help them part with their money”.
There are fears that with the upcoming holiday season well upon us, people will get caught out trying to buy pets that do not exist.
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“Criminals use free websites, trading or selling sites, local newspapers and social media to advertise expensive puppies including bulldogs and toy breeds at very low prices,” police said.
“Sometimes the dogs are offered for adoption and all you have to do is pay the shipping… Sound like a great offer?
“These scammers are criminals, they will send you pictures of adorable animals, they will tell you sob stories, they will do anything to get your money.
Police warned that they even use the names of legitimate pet shippers, they pirate websites and illegally use the logos of other companies.
It’s understood its extremely easy to come across the scams with police revealing its often when you visit a reputable newspaper or online classifieds website.
“You visit a reputable newspaper or online classifieds website where you come across an ad offering a pedigree puppy for a very cheap or ridiculously cheap price. The ad may include a picture of a very cute puppy and claim that it is registered and has been ‘lovingly raised’.
“If you wish to buy the dog, the ‘seller’ will often claim they have moved interstate or overseas and that you will need to pay for transport or medical costs before the puppy can be delivered. The ‘seller’ asks for payment to be made via money transfer.
“If you pay, you will never receive the puppy or see your money again.”
If you’re looking to add a furry companion to your home this Christmas, here’s how you can protect yourself:
- Be cautious – if the advertised price of a pedigree puppy looks too good to be true, it probably is.
- Don’t trust the legitimacy of an ad just because it appears in a reputable newspaper or online classifieds website – scammers often use these.
- Avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for upfront payment via money order or wire transfer – it’s rare to recover money sent this way.
- Search online using the exact wording in the ad—many well-known scams can be found this way.
- If you are in doubt, seek advice from someone in the industry such as a reputable breeder’s association, vet or local pet shop.
- Remember: it is impossible to import a dog from overseas into Australia in a few weeks as quarantine procedures need to be followed. For details check the requirements with the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service.