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By Bonny Burrows

 Promises of designer puppies are being used to scam potential dog owners out of their cash.
Cardinia CIU detectives are investigating an elaborate scam involving the online purchase of puppies which never arrive.
Detective Senior Constable Angela Butler said toy poodles, staffies, pomeranian were among the dog breeds being used as part of online puppy scam which had left victims up to thousands of dollars out of pocket.
She said four victims had been scammed after responding to postings advertising popular dog breeds on a number of trading websites.
Upon making contact, the scammers have requested a cash deposit to be made into a bank account to secure the purchase puppy.
“And then they come back, and keeping asking money for transport and insurance and pet registration fees to be put in different accounts,” DSC Butler said.
“They keep asking for money and the puppy is never delivered.”
Police say the scam dates back to the start of 2017 and believe there may be more victims from across Australia yet to come forward.
“It’s just come to light now, but it’s been going on for ages,” DSC Butler said.
“There have been so many breeds of dogs being advertised at the same time using the same email.”
DSC Butler said the scam served as a reminder that peopled needed to do their research before purchasing pets online.
“Don’t just take the person’s word. Meet the puppy you’re going to have for life. Meet the people who raised it and see the environment it was raised in,” she said.
She urged future pet owners to consider purchasing their dogs from a reputable breeder or adoption agency.
Alternatively, she said www.pups4sale.com.au had been proven as a legitimate online trading site.
“But there are so many puppies out there in need of a home, why not adopt?” DSC Butler said.
Anyone with information of the scam is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, submit a confidential crime report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au.
Those who may have been affected are asked to complete a fraud report at www.acorn.gov.au.

Tips for puppy buyers
-Do not pay via any form of money transfer that can remain anonymous.
-If a seller wishes to be paid by direct deposit, only do so via direct deposit between Australian banks and only into a personal bank account where the name on the bank account matches that of the seller.
-If in any doubt about the seller, ask for the details of their vet, and contact the vet to make sure they have no concerns about the seller, and that the litter you are buying from has been vaccinated and microchipped if old enough.
-If you’re asked for ID details such as a Medicare number or driver’s licence number for verification or security purposes in order to receive the address details of the advertiser, it is scam.
-If the seller states they are State Canine Council registered, ask for their kennel name / prefix and confirm these details as well as the seller’s name and address with their Canine Council.
-If in doubt about any paperwork, have the seller scan a copy of the vaccination certificate, their Canine Council membership and microchip certificate and email it to you.
-If the potential seller does not have an Australian mobile number you can contact him/her on, it is possible they are a scammer. Australian landlines can be compromised via the use of a Skype re-route by overseas scammers.

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