Puppy scam hits local mum hard

HUNTINGDALE resident Kelli Barndon had her dreams of owning a puppy crushed after she fell victim to a puppy scammer.

Ms Barndon had wanted a pitbull puppy for years and thought it would be a good idea to get one for her two children.

After spending time looking for breeders for the puppy, she found one online which said they had one.

The 40-year-old put her name down and paid the money through Western Union.

The puppy was coming from overseas and the sellers kept asking for more money, claiming they had to hold the puppy for a few extra days.

Eventually she stopped paying the extra money and started telling the seller she would take legal action.

The seller�s website was eventually taken down and Ms Barndon could no longer contact them.

�We were really looking forward to getting this puppy and then to find out they are basically scammers,� she said.

�Not only am I financially out of money and I�m emotionally distraught because I always wanted a pitbull puppy.�

WA ScamNet believes the money Ms Barndon sent � about $1000 � went to Cameroon.

Ms Barndon said she would now save her money for another puppy.

�I am not going to risk buying it from overseas,� she said.

Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection Gary Newcombe said puppy scammers were getting their hands into the money of pet-buyers in WA.

�Commonly the breeds offered in puppy scams are sought-after and usually the asking price is slightly lower than the amount you would normally expect to pay for that type of dog,� he said.

�Often the scammers will claim that the puppy is over east and needs to be transported.

�This will give them a reason to get money from you, such as for crate or shipping fees.

�There is always a danger buying things from strangers when you cannot physically see and inspect the item and take it away after handing over cash.�

He said if anyone had doubts they should call WA ScamNet before the scammers get hold of their consumers’ money.

Puppy scams in WA

� One consumer paid $700 for a husky puppy after finding what she thought was a legitimate online pet-selling business. On the Monday the pup was due to arrive she received an email asking for an extra $200 and when she refused to pay, the scammer ceased contact. The email address was simply a free account through Gmail.

� One consumer tried to buy a pug puppy via an individual�s Facebook page and sent $200 by Western Union to Cameroon. He was later asked to pay a further $800 for insurance and became suspicious. The Facebook page has now been deleted.

� One consumer tried to buy a dog on Gumtree for $600. Upon realising it was a scam he asked for a refund and he was amazingly offered the opportunity to become a money mule (a person recruited to receive funds from scam/fraud victims and then transfer the money to organised criminals in another country).