Puppy Scamming is a very real thing. Increasingly, people are being burnt by broken promises of welcoming a beautiful new puppy into their family, only to end up with both their hearts and their budgets, broken.
Puppy scamming has been on the rise these past two years, particularly as COVID has seen us all working from home and craving some canine company. In fact, according to the ACCC, as of September 30 2021, there have been 2,544 reports of pet scams with losses totalling more than $3 million this year, compared with just 498 complaints in 2019.
What exactly is Puppy Scamming?
Puppy scamming is when fake breeders (AKA con artists) advertise puppies for sale online, typically on websites such as Gumtree, or Facebook Marketplace.
They will use false photos of irresistible puppies to lure in unsuspecting buyers, who transfer the money for the puppy, only never to hear from the 'breeder' again. All contact is then cut off, any emails or phone numbers will be deleted and the supposed 'breeder', as well as the puppy, disappear into thin air.
What Can You Do About It?
Well, to begin with, you could adopt a rescue dog through a reputable rescue group or your local animal shelter. Here at Nude Pets, we strongly advocate the mantra 'Adopt, Don't Shop' and we believe that 'rescue is the best breed'.
However, we totally get that people want to bring a puppy into their homes, and they may have their heart set on a particular breed that suits their lifestyle and their family to a T. They also want to enjoy all that comes with a puppy - that soft puppy fur, the milky-sweet puppy breath, and cute little antics they get up to as they grow and learn, using our healthy selection of treats, of course.
Side note: You can rescue puppies and pure breed dogs through accredited dog rescue groups - just do a search on Facebook and make sure you're dealing with a registered charity. Or call your local RSPCA or animal shelter.
How To Find A Reputable Breeder
If your heart is still set on a pure bred puppy, you can now make sure you don't fall prey to puppy scamming thanks to a new Australian start-up called PETspot.
PETspot is using technology to battle the puppy scammers. It's a start-up that allows safe pet transactions to take place through its online platform. The company independently verifies breeders on the platform and guarantees the buyer’s money once a payment is made, offering potential pet owners a safe and simple way to find their canine companion responsibly.
Nick Figliano, the 23-year-old co-founder of PETspot said he came up with the idea for the company after he was nearly scammed out of thousands of dollars when trying to buy a puppy.
“I realised I was dealing with a scammer before I handed over any money, but many others aren’t so lucky," he revealed. “PETspot provides a secure way to pay for a dog or puppy and it links buyers directly with responsible sources. We’ve created Australia’s first payment system that is built specifically for pets.
“We’re confident in providing consumers with a guarantee of the safety of their transaction because of the rigorous checks and balances we have in place before a breeder is allowed to list themselves on our website,” he continued.
There are now more than 200 authenticated breeders on the website already and to date, $3 million dollars worth of dogs and puppies have found a home through the platform.
How Do We Know The Breeders Are Ethical?
PETspot has created a strenuous code of ethics to fact-check dog breeders, which includes providing proof of registration with regulatory bodies, showing health tests of the litter of puppies and an identity check.
If you have been the victim of a pet scam, you can report it to the ACCC via Scam Watch: https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/.