Currently there are some criminals based in the USA (North Carolina) running a Puppy Scam. This group is very active and we have received at least 20 calls in the last month from People who either have been caught or nearly caught by the Scam.
Essentially their scam is to use Internet Advertising sites to respond to ads for Pups or Kittens or other Pets and pretend they have whatever type of Pet you are looking for. Alternatively they may place ads for Pups/Kittens “free to a good home” or something similar. They always ask for money for Pet Transport from Darwin to wherever you live and sometimes for the Pet itself. They demand payment by Western Union or some similar funds transfer system which is difficult to trace.
To make themselves sound authentic they are currently using the name “Petflyers International”. But there is no Company with this name. Our name is Petflyers, our website is petflyers.com.au and our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Names similar to these but not the same are invented to scam people. If you receive correspondence from this group do not pay them money under any circumstances. They have a lot of stock photos but remember they are only photos from their Library, you will never see the Pup/Kitten in the photo.
You can report them to Scamwatch in Australia (http://www.scamwatch.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/693900) and to the USA based Internet Crime Complaint Centre (www.ic3.gov).
Obviously these Criminals may vary their story by using different Cities, Names & Stories but here are some tips to avoid being scammed;
- always talk to Sellers by phone rather than just relying on emails
- if something sounds to good to be true it probably is
- check the person is a registered breeder (refer to this RSPCA link for more details – http://kb.rspca.org.au/what-is-a-registered-breeder_328.html)
- never pay anybody you don’t know by Western Union or similar money transfer systems