At pups4sale it seems we’re always coming across new scams – or being alerted to them by our members. In this case a Facebook group dedicated to Italian Greyhounds has provided us with the details of a puppies for sale scam known as “churning” or “flipping”, being run on Gumtree.
Our research indicates this particular scam is prevalent not only on Gumtree but also on other sites where very little if any monitoring of ads or advertisers occurs.
In essence, “churning” is where a person buys puppies cheaply and sells them quickly at a profit, using a variety of tactics to achieve their nefarious aim.
They surf the online classifieds, looking for puppies that are relatively cheap (yet from breeds that are in demand), and then approach the owner with a plausible sob-story as to why the pup/s should be sold to them even cheaper. The sob-story varies, but can involve:
. being hard on their luck.
. always wanting exactly this sort of puppy but never able to quite afford it.
. a sick child or other relative who would love this pup
Having secured the pup/s, the scammer then re-advertises them immediately (at a mark-up of course, but still relatively cheaply), using a similar range of sob-stories to those listed above, but this time in reverse; saying they have to sell the pups because they’re hard on their luck, the pup needs a small hernia operation they can’t afford, they have a sick child, etc – you get the drift.
The people alerting us to the Italian Greyhound scam wrote in part:
“…there was a 16 week old puppy being offered for sale in Port Macquarie. It was noticed that this advert was changing price, the seller increased the price (i can only assume because she had lots of enquiries and was trying to make more money). The seller then was trying to ‘auction’ this poor puppy to the highest bidder!
Some of the members of the group contacted the seller and tried to arrange sale. It took a few days of back and forth but we finally managed to save this poor dog.
It was then noticed that the same seller put up a WANTED ad the FOLLOWING DAY looking for another dog!! She was looking for another Italian Greyhound or Chihuahua ‘free’ to good home……
It then became obvious to us that this girl was ‘flipping’ dogs to make a profit.
She then managed to get her hands on a female whippet pup. This was then sold…”
We have screenshots of both the Italian Greyhound and Whippet puppy for sale ads shown here, and they highlight how callous such scammers can be.
So how do you protect yourself from becoming duped by a cheap puppy (if you’re buying) or selling to a “churner” or “flipper” if selling? Here are some good tips:
. If the price is too good to be true…then it is too good to be true.
. Follow the advice on our Scam Stopper page and our FAQ page carefully.
. Copy some of the text from the ad in question and paste it into a Google search to see if the advertiser has or is running multiple ads of the same type.
. Check with us in admin if in any doubt before buying or selling a precious puppy.
Of course these people aren’t doing anything illegal – just completely immoral and with utter disregard for the life of the dog/s at stake. We can only hope the sites that host such ads do something about their standards in order to stamp out such practices…but we’re not holding our collective breath :(. Having said that, if you just stick to buying, selling or rescuing pups on pups4sale. you will never have this problem, as every advertisement is checked against our Code of Ethics by our team.