In January this year, SCAMwatch issued a radar alert warning consumers about classified ads offering non-existent pedigree puppies for sale. If you are in the market for a new puppy, you should be extra careful—the ads have resurfaced in local newspapers across the country, as well as online classifieds.

Once again, scammers are offering 'AKC registered' puppies for sale at too-good-to-be-true prices. However, the number of breeds on offer has expanded from Yorkies and bulldogs to include pugs, Boston terriers, Australian shepherds and beagles.  Some of the ads also include photos of very cute puppies.

The aim of the scam is to try to persuade potential buyers to pay to have the puppy transported to their address. The puppy could be located in Australia or overseas. Payment is to be made via money transfer, but the puppy is never delivered and the scammer pockets your money.

Protect yourself from these scams

  • Too-good-to-be-true prices for pedigree pups call for caution.
  • If you are unsure about an ad that you have seen, seek advice from a breeder or kennel association, a vet or your local pet shop.
  • Avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for up-front payment via money order, wire transfer or moneygram.
  • Do an internet search using the exact wording in the ad—many well-known scams can be found this way.

Remember: it is impossible to import a dog from overseas into Australia in a few weeks as quarantine procedures need to be followed. For details check the requirements with the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service.

Find out more about online shopping scams and how you can protect yourself from scams.

To report a suspected scam, visit the report a scam page.

Back to the SCAMwatch radar.

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Classified scams trick online shoppers on classified websites into thinking they are dealing with a legitimate contact but it is actually a scammer.
Online shopping scams involve scammers pretending to be legitimate online sellers, either with a fake website or a fake ad on a genuine retailer site.