Scamwatch fails Australian dog owners once again

A new website for Scamwatch, but the same old poor performance
A new website for Scamwatch, but the same old poor performance

In previous Posts the Daily Dog has highlighted how ineffectual Scamwatch is in assisting Australian dog owners who have been scammed online or who suspect they are being actively targeted by scammers.

Unfortunately, it seems Scamwatch is still all talk and no action when it comes to assisting Australian dog owners, as this Post will explain. (We had hoped the offshoot of Scamwatch (known as ACORN) that was also launched with much fanfare less than twelve months ago would prove more effective than Scamwatch has, but alas it is also of no help when it comes to stopping the puppy scammers.)

As an example of the self-promotion tendencies of Scamwatch, we received a tweet from them today, lauding their new, mobile-friendly website. But as we pointed out to them, if the substance of what they are doing hasn’t changed, then a new website means very little.

The main problems with Scamwatch when it comes to combating (the extremely prevalent) puppy scams are twofold:

1: They don’t actively name and shame the sites that allow such scams (among others) to be run on their pages. Such sites have little or no moderation in place, as a rule, and some (we reasonably suspect) may well be in collusion with, or run by, the bad guys themselves. At pups4sale, we update the Australian Puppy Scams Hall of Shame each month, with a comprehensive list of sites active in the Australian marketplace that provide a platform for the scammers.

It is all very well for us to publicise this list, but if a Government body like Scamwatch did so too, the word would spread to a much larger audience. Alas and alack, Scamwatch is either unwilling or incapable of taking our warnings on board and using the work we have already done to in turn warn people about sites that host puppy scams. If they did so, and “named and shamed” the sites involved (as we have repeatedly suggested), at least some of those sites would surely change their ways. Yet the silence from Scamwatch is deafening.

2: They provide generic feedback to people who contact them, seeking help with puppy scams, but take no steps to actually help the individual. They refuse to answer specific questions – even where people forward the text of a suspicious email to them.

At pups4sale, we have first hand experience of this, with a reply from them taking weeks to arrive, and including no help whatsoever when it came to addressing a specific scam.


Now, given Scamwatch is a dead-loss, we thought we’d try ACORN, the online fraud reporting service that is supposedly tied in to all the Police services across Australia. You would think that being able to contact the Police through this Portal, and demonstrating specific scams (including detailed YouTube videos such as this one) would get things moving….but prepare to be disappointed.

Here is ACORN’s reply to our specific complaint about a sophisticated puppy scam operation being run out of Pakistan, where we provided a mountain of evidence to them (including the location of the scammers themselves):

Apologies for the delay in responding to your website feedback.

Thank you for contacting ACORN with your concern and for submitting your report.

  • It is important to know that not all ACORN reports will result in police action or lost money being recovered. However, the information provided will help to prevent and disrupt future criminal activity.
  • We encourage you to contact your local police directly. (emphasis ours)



“Seriously?”, you ask? Yep – seriously; they wanted us to make a report to our local Police Station.

As a result, and with all the disdain we could muster, we sent ACORN what we believed to be an appropriate reply to their brush-off, which is copied below for your enjoyment. Strangely, we are yet to receive a reply though….

“Thanks for the laugh.

I’ll be sure to wander on down to our local Police Station on the off-chance one of our town’s two Policemen might actually be there.
Then I’ll tell the laziest cops in Australia (excluding ACORN of course) all about the Pakistani cybercrime ring we have identified and exposed, which is operating out of a cyber cafe in Islamabad.
I’ll print out all the evidence we have, give them the link to our detailed YouTube video on the website concerned, with the sure knowledge that they will do something about it.
They will be thrilled that I have done all the hard work and research for them, undoubtedly.
Or not.
What our local plods (Mick and Shane) will do is tell me to bugger off and stop wasting their time while they rest their fat beer bellies on the Station counter.
In closing, after receiving your pathetic canned email, I think I’ll update our 26,000+ FB followers instead with a copy of your advice.
I’m sure they will get as much of a laugh out of it as I did – unless that is they stop to think about how many millions of dollars of their taxes are being wasted on an organisation as pathetic and pointless as ACORN. That is no laughing matter at all.”

So in summary, don’t waste your time reporting scammers to Scamwatch or ACORN, as they will not do one thing about it. If there’s a site you are suspicious of, let us know and we’ll check it out. If it’s hosting scammers and their ads, we’ll be only too happy to expose them – even if Scamwatch and ACORN won’t.

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