Skip to main content

Pet Scams during COVID

 Recently, many of us have had a lot more time at home, meaning we have the time to train and rear a new puppy or kitten.

The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to an increase in the number of people seeking out a new companion to help with the isolation and anxiety related to the pandemic.  This has seen a spike in the number of puppy scams reported, causing a massive financial loss to uneducated puppy owners-to-be.

In April 2020, puppy scams were almost five times higher than during ordinary times.  Using the pandemic to their advantage, scammers have set up fake websites and online advertising, pretending to sell dogs that do not exist.

New buyers are requested to make upfront deposits on unseen puppies to secure their purchase.  The scammers are taking advantage that prospective pet owners are unable to travel due to COVID restrictions and will not meet their pup before paying a deposit.  Once you have paid the initial deposit, the scammer finds new ways to ask for more money.  They are claiming higher transportation costs to get across closed interstate borders or additional fees for “coronavirus treatments”.  After all the communication and payments with the seller you then find they are untraceable. Buyers are ending up without a pup and out-of-pocket large amounts of dollars.

The safest option is to only buy or adopt a pet you can meet in person, and if you cannot do that during the current lockdown restrictions, consider putting the search on hold. 

Pet owners are bring encouraged to research both the type and breed that they may be considering as a pet, and to also seek out a reputable breeder or pet adoption organisation to purchase from.

Anyone that feels they may have fallen victim to a pet scam, are encouraged to read the “Scamwatch” website for guidance and information.