Australians lost $ 2.5 million in pet scams

Wombat the Rescue Greyhound has no idea that his life was almost turned upside down by the arrival of a Maine Coon kitten.Credit:Edwina pickles

“They will continue to find excuse after excuse to ask for more money from you until the person runs out of money or realizes they are being ripped off,” she said.

“It’s amazing how many more people are losing [after the initial payment] because they are engaged at this point, they have fallen in love with the puppies, and they have already paid the money, so they are only focusing on bringing the dog to them.

The price of puppies has increased dramatically due to increased demand during the pandemic, with some breeds that normally sell for between $ 3,000 and $ 4,000 are now ordering double.

Ms Rickard said it made people more vulnerable to scams because they were more likely to shop. COVID-related restrictions also made it difficult to meet the animal in person.

Ms Rickard recommended a reverse image search with Google or TinEye as crooks typically stole existing photos, and also suggested asking them to send a video of a particular animal with a specific object such as a yellow ball. .

Jayda from Campsie, who requested that her last name not be disclosed, recently tried to buy a Maine Coon kitten from a breeder who claimed to be in Tasmania, and paid $ 1,200 for the animal and $ 300 for the ‘shipping.

The breeder’s website and shipping company looked legitimate, but ‘the alarm bells went off’ when she started receiving ‘panic emails’ about how Lucy the kitten was stuck on the tarmac and needed a special air-conditioned crate for $ 4000.

“I asked them to give me a call to discuss it and they were like ‘oh no, our phone lines are down,'” Jayda said.

“It was then that I realized I had been fooled and started searching for pet scams on Google and the first thing that popped up was how they tried to sell you air-conditioned cases. “

The scammer’s last correspondence was an email telling Jayda that she was “cruel and evil and Lucy was going to die unless I send money now.”

For now, she plans to stick with her rescue greyhound Wombat, adopted before the pandemic.

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Kevin Anderson, Minister for Better Regulation for New South Wales, said even with a real breeder it is important to research the market, including the costs of microchipping, vaccination and deexing.

“When you engage with the breeder, ask them to describe all the costs associated with the adoption, the health insurance and documents with which the animal will be delivered, and the length of the waiting period, so so that you can make an informed decision and there are no surprises. ”Mr. Anderson said.

Animal Justice Party MK Emma Hurst said puppy breeding – factory farms typically with one person looking after hundreds of dogs who are forced to have multiple litters per year – was rampant in New York. -South Wales after being banned from Victoria.

“The RSPCA is estimated to have around 200 Puppy funds in NSW, but we repeatedly hear advice that more and more development requests are coming in, especially on the [Victorian] border, ”Ms. Hurst said. “The councils are crippled by law because it is legal in NSW.”

The AJP has a bill modeled on Victorian legislation that would limit breeders to 10 dogs and one litter per year per bitch.

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