The Meeting Place

Don’t get scammed while buying a puppy

Australians have lost nearly $300,000 to puppy scams this year, and scammers have been particularly targeting those seeking a furry companion during social isolation.

“A lot of people are stuck at home and going online to buy a pet to help them get through the loneliness of social isolation,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.

“Unfortunately, the rush to get a new pet and the unusual circumstances of COVID-19 makes it harder to work out what’s real or a scam.”

Scammers set up fake websites or ads on online classifieds and social media pretending to sell sought-after dog breeds and will take advantage of the fact that you can’t travel to meet the puppy in person.

The scammer will usually ask for up-front payments via money transfer to pay for the pet and transport it to you.

“Once you have paid the initial deposit, the scammer will find new ways to ask for more money, and scammers are now using the COVID-19 pandemic to claim higher transportation costs to get across closed interstate borders or additional fees for ‘coronavirus treatments’,” Ms Rickard said.

“Unfortunately, once you make the payments, the seller will cease all contact.”

The most common breeds reported were Cavoodles and French Bulldogs and most people contacted the scammers via an email address they found online.

“The safest option is to only buy or adopt a pet you can meet in person and if you cannot do that during the current lockdown restrictions, consider putting the search on hold,” Ms Rickard said.

“Scam websites can look quite convincing, so try not to fall for the adorable puppy pictures they post, and remember, if the price looks too good to be true, it probably is.

“Research the seller by running an internet search using the exact wording in the ad and do a reverse image search for pictures of the specific puppy, as you’re likely to be dealing with a scammer if you find matching images or text on multiple websites,” Ms Rickard said.

“If you are in doubt, seek advice from a reputable breeders association, vet or local pet shop.”

Have you bought a pet this year to deal with social isolation?



We had Boston Terriers years ago, also French Bulldogs, just checked today's prices and found this one on Gumtree -

Three French bulldog puppies. $8000 each. 1 male, 2 female 

and this one in Trading Post

Boston Terrier Pup $3,500.00 

Never pay money up front for a pup advertised interstate or in the country, there are rotten crooks in the breeding game.   


Also learnt from past experience that some pedigree dogs suffer from skin allergies and other complaints which are distressing and in need of constant care, but the bitza dogs we've had over the years showed little problems.

Yes especially Bull Terriers should not live in hot climates. They will suffer terribly from skin allergies.



I know it may sound hard but only buy from registered breeders, full stop, otherwise take pot luck.

There are no guarantees in life, same goes with all animals.

If you do your homework in most things in life you will find it helps with getting most things good.

It also will avoid the back yard breeders that breed with dogs that have things like hip displacement, that breed pups that are ill from their birth.  Which is cruel to beginwith. 

Always always inspect the mother of a puppy.  That will indicate how your animal will develop.

Ben if you are serious on this Thread please put down the menu of the various Kennel Clubs in Australia and NZ.

Here is WA's.

I joined the relevant clubs that helps a lot on how to develop your puppy into a healthy member of  our family.  Not forgetting when you have the puppy go to a Vet and join in their Bappy Club usually early in the evenings or Saturdays.  The pup then can learn how to belave with other puppies.


I find it difficult to understand let alone feel sympathy for any person who buys an animal for a pet sight unseen. I have always got my pet from an animal rescue group anyway but even then I would not choose a new pet on the basis of breed alone. Those sites also don't let rescue animals go without you going in to make your choice. Every cat or dog I have owned over the past 40 yrs has had its own distinctive personality and needs so homework must be done first. After that, a meetup to find the animal your heart and mind will respond to.  Its buyers like those people who are responsible for keeping those scammers in business and also for cruel breeding practices.

I have to agree with you. Although my exception is to adopt through a breed rescue group - in my instance, the Jack Russell Rescue group in NSW. They strictly vet the dogs for temperament and suitability, making clear and lengthy notes about interacting with cats, children, other dogs, fences, skin conditions, etc. The dog is immunised, castrated, and micro-chipped, and sold for less than $500. I have adopted two adult dogs, (must admit, I do like to give a senior dog a new home), both proving to be absolute little gems. A neighbor was wanting to buy a Dachshund and I too nearly passed out at the prices being asked!

Rip offs galore due to Covid. And don't get me started on Pet Shops selling pups. No papers, no way to know about the breeder, yet a recent price for a pup was $4,200!