Mr Anderson said due to COVID-19, demand for puppies is much higher than usual, and puppy parents aren’t able to meet their new furry friend before committing to the sale due to the risk of spreading the virus.
“What we’re seeing is scammers posting fake classified ads on websites, in the paper or on social media platforms and asking for thousands of dollars for a non-existent puppy,” Mr Anderson said.
“Even though puppies soon become members of the family they should still be looked at as an investment and prospective puppy parents have to consider the risks before purchasing one.
“We know every dollar counts at the moment and being scammed out of thousands of dollars is the last thing NSW families need.
“The safest option will always be to adopt a pet you can meet in person prior to paying any money, but if that’s off the table due to COVID, it might be best to hold off.”
For those who can’t wait to be a puppy parent, Mr Anderson encourages conducting desktop research on the breeder and establishing the usual price of the puppy you’re interested in.
“Do your research on the puppy seller or breeder and establish their credentials through online pet communities and forums, and social media pages.
“If the price of the puppy is significantly higher or lower than the going rate, that’s a good indicator that something’s not right.
“And if you’re ever in doubt, don’t commit to the sale.”
Victims of fraud should contact their financial institution and ACCC immediately to report the scam via the website.