Puppy Scam - Lost $1500

Hey guys and gals,

So, long story short: I tried to buy a puppy online and was scammed out of $1500.

My bank (ING) just sent me a text yesterday to say that they were unsuccessful in trying to recall the money I bank transferred to the "breeders".

It turns out that this was a sophisticated scam where they had stolen the identity of a woman and made it seem like I was dealing with her.

I reported it to the local police (Victoria Police) which was a waste of time because they just said to report it to cyber.gov.au.

Cyber.gov.au sent me an email to say that NSW Police are investigating the matter.

Anyway, I want to know if any of you guys/gals have any ideas for how I can get my $1500 back?

Kind Regards,



  • +86

    Why would you send money for an animal you hadn't seen yet? You would want to meet the parents of the puppy too.

    Not much you can do I don't think. But interested if others have any ideas.

    • +4


      Builds trust

      If someone has a lot of online reviews you trust

      But the first red flag would have been the price. Seems too cheap.

      Still op must really want a dog.

      So all the red flags seem like rose ones

      • -11

        Yes, I was very excited about getting a dog…

        And, as I'm currently on the Disability Pension I can't afford to spend $5000 on a dog, as other breeders are asking for…

        I was lured in by the low price…

        Stupid, I know…

        I'm smarter than that…

        • +91

          Why don't you go to RSPCA or the likes? I am sure it is much cheaper and you can adopt a dog/puppy at the same time. Obviously, you can see the dog you're getting.

          • -10

            @Montyjpm: Yes, that's a great idea…

            I have thought of that too…

            I have looked into this and it appears that most of the dogs that they have at the RSPCA and Lost Dog's Home are senior dogs…

            I really want a puppy…

            Thanks for your idea :-)

            • +12

              @jm03: There are plenty of puppies. Have you looked at adoptapet.com.au as you can see which animals are at the rspca

              • +13


                Puppy VIC
                No results found

                • +21

                  @mapax: Ah so none at the moment. I'm sure there will be in the future.

                  It is worth reconsidering a puppy anyway. You don't know what their temperament is going to be, they pee and poo all over your house, and they're not at all trained. A young adult dog will be housetrained, may know some commands already, and you'll have an idea of their personality and if that gels with your lifestyle. A puppy that turns out to be super anxious would be bad if you have young children who might accidentally treat them roughly and get bitten, or it could turn out to be as thick as two short planks when you were hoping to do agility or flyball, it could be lazy when you love going for runs and wanted to take your dog with you every time, or it could turn out to need a lot of exercise when you don't have time for more than a walk or two a week.

                  The benefit of puppies is that they are cute, but that only lasts a couple of months, then what? You've got 10-15 years with a dog who might not suit you.

                  • +46

                    @Quantumcat: Puppies are always snapped up very quickly, regardless of breed. And if the OP has certain requirements, like a small dog, even moreso, doubly with COVID. If you visit RSPCA, Lost Dogs Home, etc., what you'll find are rows of adult mastiff x staffy crosses, etc. Many of them are welfare cases that have been surrendered because of health problems the previous owner couldn't afford to treat, abused, untrained farm dogs, etc. While a puppy is an unknown quality, you can't assume adult rescues are trained, either, and not everyone is in a position to rehabilitate a dog with baggage.

                    My housemate did the right thing by adopting an adult mastiff x rescue a few years ago and spent a lot of time and money trying to give him a good home. We suspect he was abused or a fighting dog because had lots of old scars. Was dog-aggressive, so had to be walked at dusk, was destructive, and bit him and his sister seriously enough to wind up in hospital. Eventually was surrendered again, where I suspect he was put down. I support rescues where possible, but we shouldn't be shaming the OP for wanting a puppy, or a breed they feel will fit their lifestyle.

                    • +11

                      @SydStrand: RSPCA do temperament testing, put down dogs that won't be suitable to be pets and will advise on activity requirements, suitability with children and other pets, etc. Not all shelters have the resources to do that but most RSPCA shelters do.

                      Maybe most or all of the current dogs at OP's local RSPCA shelter won't be suitable, but since this is an investment in OP's life that they are going to have for the next ten years, waiting for the right dog by checking back every other week doesn't seem like too much of a burden considering the benefits

                      • +15

                        @Quantumcat: Plenty of dogs are adopted out that shouldn't be, because the shelters need the space, or staff have the right intentions and want to give them one more attempt before euthanasia, these ones always come back. Source: me, who used to work at one.

                        No shelter has a 100% success rate with rehoming, it's why they have no questions asked returns. Anecdotally, Lost Dogs Home has the most stringent behavioural requirements, and have put down dogs who could have made good pets in the right home, and RSPCA Pearcedale has the least (where my housemate got his).

                      • -1

                        @Quantumcat: rspca are just scum - ask them how many dogs they slaughter each week for no real reason!


                    • +8

                      @SydStrand: Agree 100% with this comment. Lots of people are quick to shame someone for not going to the shelters. Just thoughts need to be had on the counter argument.

              • +29

                @Quantumcat: “BuT i wAnT a CaVoOdLePOoWeiLeR ReTrEiVeR PoiNtEr.”

            • +21


              I really want a puppy…

              As a 20th Century philosopher wrote -

              You can't always get what you want
              But if you try sometimes you find
              You get what you need

              • @Baysew: I'm sure if they find a puppy they will be satisfied.

              • @Baysew: That’s beautiful — there’s nothing quite like drugs to give you the purest form of intellectual clarity

              • @Baysew: dogzonline.com.au is OK

            • +12

              @jm03: I got my puppy from RSPCA, but even besides puppies, my previous dogs were from RSPCA and not puppies but not senior dogs. They were a bit over 1 year old when i got them, my current dog was 4 months old when i got her. I always go to the RSPCA, as there are so many dogs available usually and i dont really understand why people go to breeders and get more puppies coming to this world when we are putting down soo many dogs for lack of owners….

              • +13

                @lonewolf: I'm a huge proponent of rescues, but it's unrealistic to assume everyone can simply rescue a dog and have a happy outcome like yours. We can also take that line of thinking to its logical conclusion: why have children of your own, when there are plenty of orphans in the world? People want what they want, and there's no need for the OP to justify their preference. I've worked at shelters, and still would rather the OP pay for an overpriced designer dog (and keep it), than buy into this well-meaning but naive fiction that it's 'rescue or nothing,' or that a shelter dog is the same amount of work, then realise it isn't.

                • +5

                  @SydStrand: Actually comparing it to adoption doesn't work because the difference in having children is that in one scenario it's your genetics involved as well as going through all the experiences of pregnancy and childbirth.

                  Comparing rescue and puppy farms is like comparing adoptions where you are helping orphans and abandoned children to a company intentionally asking for high prices for "pure bred and specially bred children specifically for adoption".

                  And frankly odds are if they aren't going to keep a dog from the RSPCA then they won't keep a dog from the puppy farms. RSPCA analyse the pets before being put up for adoption and list any issues and personality requirements / traits of the pet before adoption.

                  It is the same concept as saying if you have a kid a bit more problematic than your previous kid that you will just give up on the kid with extra issues. Now I am not saying there is the chance of some major issues with a pet that isn't identified before you adopt either from a puppy farm or a rescue. But that chance is quite small and all living creatures can have some random issue or genetic issue etc and it's not only attributed to rescues. Can rescues have more issues in general , yes but they will usually be identified.

                  • +8

                    @lonewolf: If you're taking a purely utilitarian position, then there's a net greater good if everyone simply adopted orphaned babies. But most people don't; and while you're not related to your dog, people often want their puppies (and even children) to look a certain way, a certain sex, or even a certain size. There's no accounting for it, and the OP shouldn't be shamed into thinking otherwise.

                    And frankly odds are if they aren't going to keep a dog from the RSPCA then they won't keep a dog from the puppy farms. RSPCA analyse the pets before being put up for adoption and list any issues and personality requirements / traits of the pet before adoption.

                    This is what every shelter tells people, and it's often not the reality. For many reasons, such as space or resource limitation, we have adopted out pets that weren't 100% suitable or ready as companion animals in X setting as 'just needs a bit of time and TLC.' Sometimes it's a happy outcome, sometimes it's not.

                    Even LDH, whose behaviourist favours herself a Cesar Milan gets this wrong, and they have both put down dogs that could have been pets in the right home because there are too many dogs, or adopted out dogs that came back. Why do you think they have no questions returns? Speaking broadly, an adult rescue dog that has an unknown history or was surrendered to a shelter is likely to have more baggage than an 8 week old puppy. Kudos to you for working with this, but some families can't. The OP sounds like the latter, and I'd prefer they keep a designer dog, than return a rescue.

                    I also don't know I'm getting downvoted… this shouldn't be a controversial opinion.

                    • +1

                      @SydStrand: Actually the equivalent of wanting a choice over how your dog looks and what sex the dog is etc would be to compare it to child adoption, Not having your own baby.

                      You actually dont get a choice of sex or how your child looks through pregnancy besides knowing that the child will have some of your genes and your partner's. Pregnancy is about a biological urge / survival of the species as well as passing on your genes to ensure your genes survive.

                      So comparing puppy farms to having your own baby doesnt work, its actually closer to child adoption. You get more of a choice of how the child looks and sex via adoption especially if you want a completely different race etc like how some of the celebrities have done in the past. Just like how people may want a certain breed.

                      I also would rather trust pounds and shelters in terms of their judgement over the suitable adoption of a dog after they have had the dog with them as opposed to a puppy farm which generally is all about just money and profit and getting as many puppies sold as quickly as possible. We also dont know their experience as a puppy or their parents experience of having to constantly breed and then lose all their children as the puppies get sold off. As well as the fact that pure breeds dont live as long as mixed breeds and generally have a lot more genetic issues that come into play.

                      Comparing this to children, would be the same as comparing child adoption the way we have it now to pound / RSPCA pet adoption where the child is put up for adoption due to certain scenarios as opposed to puppy farm adoption being the same as having people locked up in a building purely for breeding purposes and after these people give birth, having the children taken away from them and sold off to the highest bidder. We dont know what this does psychologically to the puppies being taken away from their parents as well as what it does to the parents who are kept breeding while constantly losing their children…

                      I guess the other thing that needs to be asked in general is if the look , the breed, the colour and the sex of the pet is so important and paramount then is the person getting a living creature that will be part of the family no matter what or a toy? And if its the latter then what are the odds of after the puppy is no longer cute or has health issues or illnesses that the dog is just let go. The Reason why there are so many dogs in the pounds and so many adult dogs let go is precisely because of this issue. And it will continue to be an ongoing issue as till there are less puppy farms and less puppies being farmed off, there will be a certain % of people who get pets for the kids or whatever reason and lose interest and let go of the pet or even worse mistreat the pet as they get more and more frustrated with the pet's requirements and needs.

                      I dont have a problem with people wanting a certain breed or sex or even pet stores and breeders (to a certain extent). I do worry though when it becomes about profit and money then there will be a lot of shortcuts and lack of empathy towards the actual animals. I would like to see the no. of these drop a lot more and have a lot more stringent rules as well as prison sentences for abuse and lack of care / violent behaviour towards their animals.

                  • @lonewolf: @lonewolf, I think you are mixing up puppy farm/pet store with registered breeders. From what I know registered breeders don’t just give you any puppy, they select one for you based on your response to their lengthy questionnaire, also considering the temperament of the puppy.

                    Please note that not all rescue dogs are good for all that are looking for puppies/dogs.

                    • +2

                      @cosmos: From what i have seen, just because they are registered, it still doesnt mean they arent in it for the money and / or cut corners. Sure there are good ones too who do put some effort into homing their pets. But its also their business.

                  • -1


                    We can also take that line of thinking to its logical conclusion: why have children of your own, when there are plenty of orphans in the world?

                    What? That is definitely not its "logical conclusion". If the choice was between buying a child with the genetics you want from a breeder vs adopting an orphan then maybe.

                    I hope your rebuttal won't be "whats the difference between having a child with your partner and buying a child with the genetics you want from a breeder?"

                    • -1

                      @cadwalader: Maybe go read the whole thread before making assumptions.

                      • @lonewolf: What did I assume beyond what you wrote in that sentence I quoted?

                • @SydStrand: Exactly my thoughts

              • @lonewolf: People generally get puppies because they want to be be able to be part of its behavioral development, not take on some other dog who you have no idea how it was treated in those formative years which will set the tone for how the dog behaves now that it's older. This is fundamentally why these often end up up for adoption to begin with.

                Suggesting you shouldn't adopt from a puppy farm just because there are older dogs that need adopting in shelters is sick. Just like the older dogs, if an owner can't me found for a puppy, they won't hesitate on putting it down (or mistreating it) either - you're basically advocating that you should allow the puppy to die just out of spite for breeding that you don't agree with.

                I don't think I'd ever want to raise an adopted dog, because it's likely I can't train behavior out of them that is already set prior to when it was put up for adoption.

                • @akashra: A lot of people get puppies because they look cute and cuddly, they dont think about it past that point.

                  Again no, a owner can always be found for a puppy and being a puppy farm if the demand goes down, they will just stop overbreeding their stock.

                  Not all adopted dogs have such bad behaviour , thats just not right, I am sure there will be some dogs with serious behaviour issues but most wouldnt be otherwise there would be so many people being able to live with their adopted dogs. Out of the 3 dogs i have had, none of them had serious behaviour issues or anything. If anything the youngest dog , the puppy was the most difficult to train and that was because she was of a stubborn nature and probably goes to the breed.

            • +1

              @jm03: https://www.petrescue.com.au/ is another source for adopting which assembles listings from smaller rescue & foster groups if anyone is interested! Several puppies there and you can even search for inter-state adoption listings for more results!

          • +1

            @Montyjpm: Good luck getting a puppy at the RSPCA.

            • +1

              @Jono05: One of the dogs I got was a puppy from the RSPCA.

          • -3

            @Montyjpm: RSPCA only have dogs with problems, that's why they are unwanted. If you want a dog with good temperament, you have to train it from puppy.

            • +1

              @CoreJava: Lol where do you get this generalisation from? Many pets are also from owners who didn't think things through when they bought the pet, or owners who find they are no longer able to afford the pets and abandon them

            • +1

              @CoreJava: idiot

        • +1

          If you are living with disability, looking after a puppy may be too much for you physically, while adult dog is easier to look after (breed dependent of course)

        • Hey there! I'm sorry that this happened to you, but I hope it doesn't discourage you.

          Both of my parents were disabled, and I had a cat and a dog for all of my teens, and the cat lasted 17 years.

          The older they got, and the more joy they seemed to bring to my Mum, especially in regards to her routine and mobility, and a sense of security.

          I adopted a few cats that were close to retirement, and they were pure love, at a slower pace. One of them had a sign beside him saying "Give this gentle giant, a good retirement" and I had to take him home immediately… I was also slightly drunk, but I doubt that impaired my judgement. :P

          I don't know what your disability is, but sometimes a pet a twee bit older saves you a bunch of moolah, and the energy/attention/destruction isn't as intensive.

          Good shelters will often recommend dogs that are hard to home because of their anxiety when left alone, so if you're at home a bunch, the can be perfect! Also, supermarket bulletin boards if you want a pup.

      • +2

        Seems too cheap

        I was looking for Moodle pup and one breeder quoted $600 and they will cover freight of pup. Normal cost of Moodle is around $3000 - $4000. I never bothered to reply back to the breeder. This is a clear sign, that it's too good to be true. :-)

    • Easy. It was cheaper than it should've been. Which was of course the warning too! Sorry OP :(

    • -1

      This happened to a colleague of mine. I just keep thinking, if only they put that into crypto….that $1500 would be $3000 by now!

  • +8

    Yes, I was stupid.

    I know, I know.

    I've never had any problems with buying stuff online, so I was too trusting and naive…

    • +11

      Unlikely to be able to get your money back.

      Take it as a learning experience. We just can't trust people these days with things like this.

      • +1

        Yeah, that's what I think too…

        My aunty was telling me about a guy she used to work with…he had a PhD and he was scammed out of $10,000…and he never got the money back…

        • +62

          Book smart isn't the same as street smart.

          • +12
          • +6

            @Lord Fart Bucket: Amen to this. The girl who was dux of our school when i was in year 12 also managed to drive all the way to the shops one day with her brakes smoking because the handbrake was on.

            • @Matt P: Driving with the handbrake on is something I've accidentally done before on my parent's car when I was younger.
              Older car with rear drum brake & a loose handbrake cable means it's harder to notice. I think I smelled burning at a stop before I suspected something.

          • +9

            @Lord Fart Bucket: Vice versa. Street smart doesn't mean book smart.

          • @Lord Fart Bucket: usually it's the opposite!

    • I've never had any problems with buying stuff online

      Depends what you are buying and from where… this is where law of hammer fails.

    • You won't get your money back, but since you already know that you were the problem, you can be more careful in future and not let it happen again.

    • Why dont you Name and Shame the online business???

      maybe we'll all jump in and neg the Google Reviews they have

      • +4

        they had stolen the identity of a woman and made it seem like I was dealing with her.

        So posting fake reviews about a business that wasn't actually involved in the fraud is ok?

        • Reviews don't need to be fake…

    • +1

      Sadly, it's never a problem until it becomes one.

      You broke the golden rule by buying/paying for something from someone you don't know, without seeing the merchandise. Unbelievably happens too often.

      Put it down to a costly lesson in life.

      • +18

        You mean a mongrel ?

  • +20

    hey jm03, sorry for your experience - however, i see a post like the one you've just made and i think to myself is this also a scam?

    a person shares a sob story online about how they lost money
    then also casually mention they are on the disability pension….. this to me sounds like the start of a scam :/

    is this scam inception, a scam within a scam?
    quick someone push me out of my chair, to see if im in a dream, if im not in a dream, im suing for personal injury

      • +7

        i dont understand your comment, is your sister jm03?
        if so they should check to see if the nursing home will allow them to own a dog

    • +2

      Thats a tough but fair view to take.

      This is the internet, everyone should take EVERYTHING with a pinch of salt. What you just described is not unheard of, people set up all kinds of scams coming from different angles.

      Its not just a Nigerian prince taking peoples money.

      Never take anything on face value from the internet, seeing is believing, so see it in person if buying expensive crap from strangers.

      • Great advice.

        • +2

          I don’t believe pensionerxxl is calling you a scammer. Rather, they are illustrating the point, the internet is full of dangers.

          View people on the internet they way a good motorbike rider views every other motorist on the road.
          They are all out to kill you, don’t trust any of them.

    • -4

      Mate, you are too cynical…

      This is not a scam. Have I asked anyone for money?

      How could it be a scam!?

      Think before you post…

    • I'm glad I'm not the only one suspicious of this post.

  • +8

    As a side note, plenty of potentially loyal dogs (including puppies) at the pound for free …

    Try again thru your bank with the police report, they tend to be a bit more helpful when a verifiable legal document exists ;)

    • -1

      Thanks dude, good idea, but I don't have any police report…

      The contact with the police has been non-existent…

    • +1

      They're not free, adoption is anywhere from $75-$800 depending on the dog and rescue, especially if you want anything that isn't an old terrier, destructive husky or bully mix

      • +1

        still cheaper than 1500 i spose

        • +11

          Especially since you get a dog as well!

    • Not free. Also you'd be very lucky to get a dog that isn't a "bogan delight"

      • +1

        People will go on about "get from the pound and save a dog!"

        Meanwhile, most of the dogs there are amstaffs, mastiffs etc.

  • +1

    But as for the crime. It's just a form of fraud and needs to be investigated the same way you would any other form of financial fraud.

    • +10

      Police don't care.

      That's why scammers thrive on classifieds.

      • -1

        They probably have more important things to look into

        • +3

          Indeed, so many mask breaches and 72 year old ladies to knock over and pepper spray ;)

        • +8

          like people speeding in an empty 3 lane highway

        • They probably have more important things to look into

          Like their coffee cups & doughnut box

      • +2

        For a state police force to investigate a matter, the offence must have occured in that state, so it isn't that they "don't care", there is nothing they can do about it.
        Reporting to cybercrime is a national body, who will commence an investigation and forward to a relevant state force if appropriate, as it sounds like they've done in NSW. Have you tried contacting NSW police?

        • -1

          I reported a fraud to NSW police 2 years ago, still waiting for the call…. Useless

      • +1

        To be fair they are investigating.The op is just impatient and won't wait for a result

      • +1

        It's not that they don't care , it's that how much police resources do you want spent finding someone who scammed a naive person out of $1500 vs solving a murder?

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