Online dog or puppy selling scams are rampant in Australia. Many animal rights activists, law enforcement officials, and even legitimate breeders have at many times raised awareness of such scams. These scams exist largely because consumers are unaware of responsible and legitimate ways of getting a puppy. It comes down to being scrutinizing and doing your research instead of falling for cute pictures of animals. If you are thinking about buying a puppy, be aware of the following ways to avoid a scam that hurt animals and humans alike:
Beware of Cute Puppy Pics on Facebook
Puppy scams are most common on social media sites like Facebook, where people love to look at pictures and buy things. If you see a “Doberman for sale” ad on with pictures of adorable Dobermans, stop for a second and scrutinize the images. Scammers commonly steal pictures from legitimate breeders or dog owners and use the pictures as their own. Sometimes the pictures are cropped and otherwise altered to look different. But they can still be spotted by looking at the metadata of the digital picture. Metadata includes useful information about digital pictures, such as the location and date when the snap was taken. If you see a puppy picture posted yesterday, but if the metadata shows the origin date as 2000, then you can be pretty sure that the image is stolen or faked. You can also use photo search tools to check if a picture has been posted on multiple websites.
Google the Seller’s Email Address
Scammers pretending to be breeders post email addresses for potential victims to get in touch. Therefore, always Google the email addresses provided. Watchdog groups often post email addresses of known scammers as warnings to people who could end up being victims. A Google search would reveal if a breeder you come across online is indeed a scammer. Of course, not all scammer addresses will get listed in this manner. But it’s better to do this anyway just to be sure.
Mind Those “Transportation” Fees
Legitimate breeders don’t ship puppies across borders. If a breeder you see online does, then it is definitely a scam. Legitimate breeders don’t charge postage or interstate transportation fees. You should be able to visit and meet up with the breeder and see the dog in the environment it was raised in. If this is not possible, then avoid the breeder because it is most likely a scam.
Is the Seller a Member of a Breeder Association?
Legitimate breeders do not include known scammers in breeder associations. Therefore, if the seller is a registered breeder associated with a well-known dog breeder organization, then you can be sure that you are not interacting with an online scammer. If the seller presents such credentials, check the name with the breeder association. You can do this by contacting the association via phone or email.
Look for Web Presence
Legitimate breeders have websites where multiple dogs are displayed. When you see an ad for a puppy online, check the breeder’s name, email, and see if there’s a website for the seller. If there isn’t, don’t trust the source. Reputable breeders typically keep updated websites and scammers don’t have any web presence that you can check.
Lastly, you should be able to meet the breeder in person before you pay anything. If the online ad poster wants you to meet in a parking lot, then not only could the seller be a scammer, the seller could also be part of a puppy mill. Be aware of the above tips to avoid being victimized by puppy scams.