Dog lovers are the latest victims of cyber crooks, with at least $9,000 being lost to cyber criminals in western Africa, alone, The West Australian reports.
In the past two months, nine people lost between $350 and $1,800 after attempting to buy a a puppy online after responding to ads on classified websites. Almost $9,000 has been traced to cyber scammers in Cameroon.
“The financial loss suffered by puppy scam victims can be substantial, but many are also upset and disappointed when the pet they fell in love with on the Internet doesn’t arrive,” Consumer Protection commissioner Anne Driscoll told The West Australian.
After the initial purchase price for the puppy is sent, usually by wire transfer, Driscoll said the scammers then demand more money for transport and delivery or insurance.
“The purchaser is virtually being held to ransom and the heartless scammers are preying on the buyer’s emotional attachment to the puppy and their excitement about its imminent arrival,” she added.
Consumers should be extra careful when buying puppies online, especially if the seller requested money sent by wire, Driscoll said. And if there is any suspicions about he legitimacy of the purchase, “don’t go ahead with the deal and don’t reveal any personal information,” she added.