Adele Harding has wanted a puppy for a long time.
- Tasmanians have lost more than $40,000 this year to puppy scams, police say
- The scams involve advertising pets that do not exist and demanding up front payments
- Those wanting a puppy have been urged to research reputable breeders and ensure they can be contacted in person
So when the breeder she was on the waitlist for jacked up the price, she turned online, scouring sites such as Gumtree and Trading Post.
Ms Harding, who lives on Hobart’s eastern shore, eventually found a man in Victoria who was selling cavoodle puppies.
“I chose Victoria because I had family and friends there and I was getting them to go and handover the money,” she said.
“Then corona hit and lockdown hit and it was too far for my family to go and so I panicked.”
She was only too aware of puppy scams and so began to research the breeder “furiously”.
“We internet-stalked the guy, [he] sent us his driver’s licence, which was a heavy vehicle licence. I then Google-earthed his house and saw trucks in his driveway.”
She found other photos of him online so she “knew that he was who he said he was” but she did not know if he had any puppies.
“[I would] get the photos he sent me [of the puppies] and put them into Google to make sure that they weren’t generic images. They never were,” she said.
Finally, before she paid her full deposit she had to send him a puppy crate, but she added some extra items to make sure it was not a scam.
“So I put in the puppy crate a blanket and a teething ring. I didn’t tell him,” she said.
“The day before the puppy was meant to fly out [the crate] came, he rang me and said it had arrived.
“Then I paid the money and that night he was taking selfies of him and the puppy.”
This story has a happy ending.
The cavoodle puppy, now named Huxley, arrived on Wednesday, much to the joy of her two children Eddie and Lilah.
But not all Tasmanians have been so lucky.
Travel restrictions a red light for scams, police warn
Tasmanian police said they have seen a 50 per cent rise in puppy scams this year, with cavoodles one of the most common breeds involved in scams.
So far 12 Tasmanians have fallen victim to such scams, losing a total of more than $40,000 — they are the cases police know about.
Detective Sergeant Paul Turner said puppy scams generally start online.
“Buying a puppy is a very emotional thing for a lot of people,” he said.
“COVID has meant that people are at home for longer periods and the restrictions that are in place have meant that people have commenced buying these types of items online.”
He said it was important that people thoroughly research the breeder before sending them any money.
“Do a Google search on the exact wording of the ad and that will often identify that it is a scam,” he said.
“Look for warnings signs such as breeders that say they can send you a puppy from overseas in a matter of weeks when that’s just simply not possible with quarantine restrictions.
He also said people should be cautious when asked to pay via money transfer services.
As for Adele, all the stress and worry has been worth it.
“She’s gorgeous. [The kids are] ecstatic. They feel like it’s just a dream,” she said.