Coronavirus Puppy scams increase during Lockdown

Covid-19 has created a perfect storm for scammers to steal money from consumers.

April 30, 2020
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Coronavirus Puppy Scammers are taking advantage of people self isolating.

Coronavirus Puppy scam Stats

Coronavirus Puppy scam Stats 2020

We at PetScams.com have seen a huge increase in people accessing our site in the month of April.

What has changed? Our researchers are still researching between 20 and 25 scam websites per day.

Many of the existing websites are still online. Scammers are still using the same tactics to steal peoples money. They charge for the pet you think you are buying, delivery fees, vaccines, pet medical bills and now charge a fee for a “Covid19 permit” to send the puppy. Scammers are opportunists who will take advantage of any change in order to steal more money from unwitting buyers.

How has the Covid19 created the perfect storm for Puppy Scams?

PetScams.com has received many more comments and emails than ever before. The main countries affected by pet scams are the US, Australia and South Africa. Scammers need a large geographical target area and a population of animal lovers. This is because scammers claim to be based so far from the buyer that the buyer cannot pay in person.
The scammer can then demand payment online as well as insisting on shipping with a fake shipping company.
Scammers are now finding a new pool of victims. We think that the factors which cause this are:

  • Many people are now seeking company while self isolating
  • These people may have not previously owned a pet
  • Many people are now buying goods and services online for the first time
  • People living in smaller geographical countries can now be convinced not to visit the breeder because of self isolating.
  • People who would usually visit a breeder when buying a pet can now be persuaded to not visit a breeder due to self isolating.

Some of the comments on our warnings say as much:

She said they can fly the puppy to me using a companion company. I did question that since everything is on lockdown right now due to the corona virus. But she said there is no problems.

Elli – Ourcavalierkingforyou-com

 

I thought possibly with the current virus situation, people needing to stay home rather than work could cause the need to reduce prices more affordably so the puppies can find homes.

Kat – Healthyenglishbulldog-com

Puppy Scammers adding new twists to their script

We have also identified from victims comments that pet scammers are attempting to exploit the coronavirus pandemic by adding new fictitious pet crates that somehow safeguard pets against the COVID-19 pandemic. Pet scammers are also eager to seek payments made directly to their origin country of Cameroon so that it is easier for them to repatriate stolen funds, instead of through the usual method of dispatching money mules in the target country to collect payment:

I was ready to send the money after he told me that the banks dont work and I should instead send the money either with paypal or to his office in Cameroon, because of covid-19 the banks in US dont work..

Nikolay – Qualitycorgipupshome-com

 

I cannot believe I didn’t see the warning signs sooner until I got to the delivery stage and they asked for over $1000 for a special crate for Covid-19 safe travel on the plane out of Burnie, Tasmania, which was locked down last week.

Samantha – Homeofcavoodles-com

 

It is always best to visit a breeder when buying a pet. The very least a prospective buyer should do is to ask for a live video chat with the breeder and the pet at the same time. Do not trust videos sent to you of the pet as scammers will send videos of pets that they have stolen from other sites as in this video sent to PetScams.com of a scammer adding his voice to a video of someone elses kittens.

If a breeder claims to be in your country, never send money to Cameroon and always be extra vigilant using a non-refundable payment deposit method. A videocall with the breeder takes 10 minutes and will put your mind at ease.

These criminals do not have a moral compass and will take advantage of any circumstance.

What to do next?

As well as reporting this to the Registrar it is very important to report this crime to your local Law Enforcment. We have compiled a list of Law Enforcement agencies worldwide.You can find a link (here) as well as reporting wire fraud using money transfer agencies (here).

If you live in the US it is important to report this scam to the BBB. Click here to see why. As well as the Better Business Bureau you should report this crime to the Federal Trade Commission. See Here

3 Responses

  1. Hi Dore

    I was also scammed by ‘Samantha Lance’ on 1 June 2020. I paid a deposit of R1850. I think she is using someone else’s ID. She tried to get a copy of my ID but I refused to send it through. Where can I get hold of you? We need to stop this woman from scamming others.

    Reply
  2. I bought/ordered a brown toy poodle puppy on 16/05/2020 from a Samantha Lance in Nelspruit via an ad on the internet. She only communicate via email. Samanthalance09@gmail.com.
    I paid R2000 deposit via immediate eft.
    An hour before the courier need to leave I received a mail to urgently pay R5000 for a heated crate via cellphone money transfer on the Sunday. Then again before the courier was suppose to leave, I need to pay another R5000 for insurance which the owner and the courier guy assured me is transferrable upon delivery
    I refused to pay again and cancelled. They were both very angry with me and said they will pay me back, but nothing yet!! Scammed!!!
    Elite couriers email looked suspicious and sent it via this Samantha Lance

    Reply

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