Animal associations

Companion Animal Network Australia calls for action as pet scams soar

When people act on emotion they are easier to rip off and this is especially true for animal lovers who want a furry friend.

During Scam Awareness Week 2022 (November 7-11))leading animal protection charity Companion Animal Network Australia (Australia CAN) calls for vvigilance when buying or adopting a pet and banks to take action, following reports of widespread pet scam activity.

“Banks can also do more to help protect the public as hundreds of bank accounts are believed to be used for pet scam related activity,” says Trish Ennis, CEO of Australia CAN.

Scamwatch is run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and this the theme of the year is How to spot a scam. Australia CAN has again partnered with the ACCC and Puppy Scam Awareness Australia (PSAA) to help animal lovers identify and avoid pet scams that continue to cause grief and anger.

According to the ACCC Scamwatch Report July 2022animals scams increased in 2020 as a result of lockdowns, but despite restrictions eased, Scamwatch continued to see pet scams reports increase by 48% in 2021receive 3,332 pet scams reports with more than $4 million in reported losses.

“With scammers continually developing new ways to deceive people, animal lovers should increase their vigilance by checking for those little clues that can alert us that something is a scam,” says Ms. Ennis.

“The scammers are professional scammers, and it can be difficult to distinguish what is real or a scam. We encourage animal lovers to learn how to spot a puppy scam and avoid heartache, loss of money and, in some cases, the possibility of having to deliver their pet to the shelter.

According to Scamwatch, the most common method of contact reported was email, which also had the highest losses. The most common pets used in scams were puppies, followed by kittens. Scamwatch has also received reports of a wide range of animals, including snakes, goats, and ferrets.

“Pet scammers will usually advertise on fake websites, social media or classified sites. Scammers can also act as a rescue group,” says Ms Ennis.

“People will not be able to see the animal and once paid, victims will be asked for more money due to various issues related to transport, illness or the need for vaccinations. Scammers go to great lengths to convince people that the animal is delivered. »

Partnership with Puppy Scam Awareness Australia (PSAA)

Puppy Scam Awareness Australia is a dedicated organization that raises awareness of thousands of pet scam syndicates preying on pet buyers, helping puppy buyers spot a scammer and help those who have been scammed.

“We work hard to report and deny scams daily to actively protect Australians from scams,” says PSAA founder Sandy Trujillo. “We don’t just report scammers, we shut them down online immediate presence and help victims try to recover their money.

PSAA has also partnered with Meta to collaborate on anti-scam ideas on social media. Since 2021, more than 600 Australian fraudulent bank accounts3,000 websites and over 5,000 social media pages/groups and profiles have been reported to the PSAA.

“Banks must do more to help protect the public!” Mrs. Trujillo said.

The 3rd of OctoberrdPSAA reported an account to a major bank with evidence provided that the account is used for fraudulent activities. The same account was reported again (with proof provided) three days later as the account was still outstanding and ongoing used by another scammer. October 11ea ‘Sharon’ victim was scammed Account.

“Every turn Sharon has tried to take has been met by the bank with rudeness, denial and obstruction. They refuse to accept the evidence provided. His contacts with the AFCA (Australian Financial Complaints Authority) have also been unsuccessful, stating that ‘because of the amount she lost, they’re not interested,’ says Ms. Trujillo.

“Raise public awareness of the dangers and above all support and guide the victims through this traumatic event was the priority.

The PSAA recently launched a Directory of Pet Breeders and Carriers to help validate and assist protect businesses from scammers stealing their intellectual property. To have “the only directory that are getting ahead of the scam problem,” PSAA also works with breeders whose credentials are stolen to restore their reputation.

“Most breeders now doubt that strangers come and steal their puppies,” says Ms. Trujilo. “It also became a thing during Covid. Many choose to talk on the phone or do Facetime. It is not always possible to find a breeder in your state as well. Victorian laws are so regulated that Victorians choose to buy on the highway. This is how most get caught in scams.

How to spot a pet scam

For tips on avoiding fake websites and a list of scam websites

For a guaranteed pet to welcome into your family, contact an Australia CAN member in your state here.

If you think you have been scammed, contact your financial institution immediately. For more information, see Scam Watch.

Australia CAN is a registered charity representing the companion animal welfare work of member organizations across the country, including Animal Welfare League QLD, Animal Welfare League SA, Lort Smith (VIC), Sydney Dogs and Cats Home, Dogs ‘ Homes of Tasmania and Saving Animals From Euthanasia Inc (WA).

Australia CAN celebrates the human-animal bond and promotes responsible pet ownership through national campaigns, partnerships and initiatives, including the Rent with animals and Pets in Elder Care programs.

About Companion Animal Network Australia (Australia CAN)

Companion Animal Network Australia (Australia CAN) is a registered charity representing the companion animal welfare work of our six member agencies. We mobilize support to develop and promote programs that provide high standards of companion animal welfare.

Together, our members provide rescue, housing, fostering, care, health care and enrichment services to over 50,000 animals each year. Through national campaigns, partnerships and initiatives, we celebrate the human-animal bond and promote responsible pet ownership.

We use our national voice to campaign for the humane treatment of all pets and mobilize support for programs that provide high standards of welfare.

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