– In the October edition of the Australian Puppy Scams Hall of Shame, we feature Australia-free-classifieds. com. This site has been completely infiltrated by the puppy scammers, with zero legitimate canine classifieds being displayed on the site at time of writing.
However what is displayed is literally thousands of fake puppy ads – many of which appear to have come from one scam syndicate alone.
As the video which accompanies this Post details, the tactics the scammers are using continue to evolve, with one of the latest being:
. The price of the pups in the fake ads is either not mentioned or is not as ridiculously cheap for the breed in question as has previously been the case. For instance we recently came across a series of fake French Bulldog ads that were listed at $2,000 each. Whilst that is a lot of money, the going price for a French Bulldog puppy in Australia is normally at least $4,500. Where previously such fake ads would list a selling price of less than $1,000, the scammers have come to realise that such a price is obviously too cheap in the eyes of increasingly educated puppy buyers, meaning that version of the scam is no longer working as well. Therefore they have changed tack by increasing the listed price (often by 100% or more) in order to give the ad enough of an air of legitimacy for people to contact them instead of being immediately put off.
With the constant monitoring pups4sale does on sites that willingly host scam puppy ads in Australia, we have observed the scammers actually conducting market research by adjusting the prices listed in their fake ads until they reach a “trigger price point” for a given breed. Once that point is reached, subsequent fake ads for the breed then display the new price. As mentioned, this is the point where people will think a pup is cheap, but not too cheap to immediately raise suspicions. Once the first contact is made, then the scammers start the process of reeling in their victim of course.
Indeed, in dark corners of the internet sophisticated scammers are now selling complete email scripts and tutorials of how to run puppy scams from start to finish. Most scammers speak English as a second language, so such scripts are readily snapped up and employed with great gusto by the puppy scammers.
Judging by the emails and phone calls we receive here at pups4sale on the topic, the whole “industry” of puppy scams is definitely ever growing in sophistication. One of the reasons of course is we are constantly educating fellow dog-lovers in this Country, so the scammers are having less and less success with their scams in Australia. Kind of makes your heart bleed, doesn’t it?!
So, as of October 2014, the Australian Puppy Scams Hall of Shame consists of a large number of sites, all of which are listed here.
Feel free to share the above list with anyone who may be considering buying a dog online in Australia. To be forewarned is to be forearmed – most definitely!