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Kitten and puppy scams

A cute grey kitten in a red Christmas stockingNothing cute about kitten scams

Don’t let kitten scammers get their claws into your money. It’s a new version of the age-old puppy scam.

Scammers advertise a puppy or kitten for sale in the classifieds either in newspapers or online, usually providing an email address as a contact point. The animal being advertised is often a popular breed and the asking price is lower than the market value.

The scammers come up with various explanations as to why they are selling the puppy or kitten; often a tragic story such which requires a fast sale, such as the owner having died or being too ill to look after the animals. 

If the advert is online, they’re usually selling via legitimate trading websites and the offer of sale will show up when you search for puppies or kittens for sale in Perth. But then when you make contact with the advertiser they turn out to have the animal over in the Eastern states (of course it doesn’t really exist at all).

The seller requests that payment for a crate and shipping of the kitten or puppy be sent by wire transfer. Sadly the animal never arrives and Consumer Protection has received reports of monetary loss from many heartbroken would-be pet owners.

In one case, a regional consumer wired $500 but no dog arrived. He was then told there had been a shipping problem and was asked to send a further $100. When he still didn’t receive his puppy, he asked a friend to pretend to be a buyer and contact the seller. His friend was told the puppy was still available.

Another consumer was fooled into believing she was dealing with someone living in WA and was asked to send the money to a wire transfer agency which she believed to be in a local town. However the scammer was actually located in Africa and the money was picked up in Cameroon.

Be cautious of purchasing goods sight unseen from strangers; especially if they request money be sent via wire transfer.

Resist pressure to act now. If you have any doubts, don't go ahead with the deal. You can read more about puppy scams and see a video of victims describing how they were duped by clicking Puppy for Sale

Don’t forget there are local animal welfare places where you can adopt a pet.

For more information about buying a pet see Consumer Protection's A consumer's guide to buying a pet