The ACCC have reported $4.2M in puppy scams this year – a number that has been steadily rising over the last few years.

The Covid pandemic created a high demand for puppies and, sadly, also a rise in scams preying on pet shoppers.

Puppy Scam Awareness of Australia (PSAA) is a dedicated organisation that brings awareness about the thousands of pet scamming syndicates who prey on pet shoppers.

It was developed by former vet nurse, Sandy when she was scammed by buying a new puppy for her elderly mum during the Covid pandemic.  Like many, Sandy turned to classifieds and responded to an ad promoting a Toy Poodle on a reputable website.  But she was scammed.  Payment was made, but the pet did not arrive.

Sandy quickly realised that there were many victims of scamming and that the various government agencies were unable or unwilling to report them.  So she took matters into her own hands and set up the website and facebook group to identify, report and shut down scammers.

We spoke to Sandy to bring you some tips on ensuring you get the pup you pay for.

  1. Always triple check all information given to you by Breeders. Ask for and check their vets name, associations, microchip numbers and BIN/Source numbers (these numbers need to be checked for the state the puppy is being sold in). Scammers will often use information from ANKC (Australian National Kennel Council) and claim to be ANKC approved or bred. Check that they are.
  1. Double check testimonials and puppy photos. Scammers will steal testimonies and photos from legitimate breeders and re-use them. You can do a reverse image search and copy and paste testimonials into Google to see if they are being used in multiple places.
  1. Breeder transparency. Legitimate breeders will always have open and clear communication. They want to know where their puppies are going. The breeders should be happy to speak to you on the phone and facetime to allow you to see the puppy. Scammers will make excuses not to do these things.
  1. Be wary of obvious spelling and grammar mistakes, scammers from overseas will often use google translate. References to Australia but with obvious US phrases such as ‘potty trained’ ‘the puppies mom’ are also red flags. They also tend to use words such as ‘rehoming’ or ‘adoption’.
  1. Be aware that third party classifieds are not verified or checked. Always check directly with the association pages.

Puppy Scam Awareness Australia have created a user friendly, free to use, one stop shop Directory to ensure you are buying your puppy from a legitimate breeder. You can access this through their website