Scamwatch update from the ACCC and pups4sale.com.au

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has a division known as Scamwatch – which many Australians may be unaware of. Being a Government agency, often they are behind the times when it comes to keeping up with the latest developments in the world of scams. Every year however Scamwatch produces a report on the most prevalent scams from the previous year, which can be a handy resource to run one’s eyes over.

Scam Stopper is the free service run by pups4sale which also uses advice from the ACCC
Scamwatch advice for keeping safe online

To save you the trouble of going through a Government report (aren’t we kind?!), we have gone through it for you and extracted the relevant advice. Included is an example of a puppy scam, so  we’ll copy that here for your information:

Gemma learns this scam is a dog

Gemma had been begging her mother for a puppy for her 13th birthday. She saw an online ad for a litter of labradors that were being sold near to her home. They contacted the owner who claimed an overseas trip prevented him from delivering the animal in person. However, they informed Gemma’s mother that she could pay a fee to release the animal from the boarding kennels and arrange for the puppy to be delivered that weekend, just in time for Gemma’s birthday.

Her mother transferred $750 for the labrador plus $200 for travel costs, and they excitedly prepared for its arrival. When the labrador didn’t arrive, Gemma’s mum repeatedly tried to contact the seller but with no luck. They realised they had been scammed and Gemma was devastated.

This is exactly the type of scam we have been warning about in blog posts such as this one. There are a number of Australian sites hosting fake puppy ads, and Gemma’s family was caught out by one of these.

Remember – the bad guys are so brazen, they will do anything they can to separate you from your hard earned money; they have no conscience whatsoever. Their brazenness exists to even impersonating the ACCC or Scamwatch itself on occasion! Here’s an example:

Bad Guy A places a fake puppy ad on a site such as the one highlighted here.

Victim A responds.

Bad Guy A tries to scam Victim A, but Victim A is suspicious, reads the advice here on our site and isn’t fooled any further.

Victim A tells Bad Guy A to take a hike and does not respond to further emails or phone calls from Bad Guy A

Bad Guy B (working with Bad Guy A) rings or emails Victim A, pretending to be from Scamwatch. He says Victim A’s computer has been compromised and for a small fee (which must be paid urgently by credit card) Victim A can have the problem fixed – and he needs to provide remote access to his computer in order for this to be done.

Now because Victim A has read the advice on our site, he is aware of online scams and thus too smart to fall for this, but what if he hadn’t read the advice and did get sucked in? Well Bad Guys A & B immediately remotely access Victim A’s computer, looking for every username and password they can find (especially those from banks or other financial institutions), go to the website concerned with this information, login to Victim A’s account and transfer the money overseas to themselves.

Scam accomplished.

Whilst it is helpful for Scamwatch to publish a yearly report, that doesn’t help people needing to know right now if they are the subject of an attempted scam. Fortunately pups4sale can help fill the gap. If you are concerned you might be the target of a potential online scam – whether it be about puppies or not – just contact us and we’ll be glad to freely give you the benefit of our experience gained in our daily combat with the bad guys.

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