ONLINE shoppers looking for a dog are warned to check the pooch is advertised with the breeder’s supply number before buying, after a Redland resident fell victim to puppy fraud.
The requirement was introduced by the state government last year to stop breeders cashing in on irresponsible practices, with concerns about animal heath able to be reported to authorities.
But the supply number could also help stop fake dog sellers scamming victims.
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People have been swindled of more than $310,000 in the past 12 months while looking for pets, with 584 fake puppy ad reports received by Scamwatch which is run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said fake sellers preyed on buyer’s emotions.
They often posted cute pictures to classified sites, telling the victim transport, quarantine and medical costs needed to be paid upfront before the puppy could be delivered.
“Once (the buyer) sees that cute puppy picture in an ad, they drop their guard and tend to miss the warning signs they’re dealing with a scammer,” she said.
“Scammers will advertise puppies they know are sought after, particularly pedigree breeds.”
A Redland City Bulletin reader said he was ashamed to admit he fell victim to fraud while looking for a pug.
“The puppy never arrived and me and the family, apart from the financial loss, have been severely traumatised by this,” he said.
“Looking a bit deeper now, I can see how I could have spotted the con but at the time we were so emotionally invested in this most beautiful puppy offered to us.
“These criminals are making a lot of money from unsuspecting people and families.”
The state law has made it compulsory for all advertisers, including those giving away a dog, to include the breeder’s supply number.
Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said buyers could check the number was legitimate at qdbr.daf.qld.gov.au and contact the breeder for more information.
“The dog breeder registration laws apply to regular and occasional breeders (including backyard litters), with specific exemptions for some genuine working dogs,” he said.
Ms Rickard warned buyers that anything that seemed too good to be true, most likely was.
“Scammers will place ads selling pedigree pups at cheap prices. Don’t fall for it,” she said.
“If you are in doubt, seek advice from someone in the industry such as a reputable breeders association, vet or local pet shop.”