Cute puppy pictures are being used by scammers to lure people into handing over cash for dogs that may not even exist.
Some are also being tricked into paying extra for transport costs but find their dogs never arrive.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says puppy scams have cost Australians $ 35,000 so far this year and $ 173,000 in 2012.
Deputy chair delia rickard is urging anyone looking for a puppy to be wary of classified ads in newspapers and on the internet where prices appear too good to be true.
‘Scammers use adorable photos of puppies in these ads to suck you in,' Ms Rickard said in a statement on Thursday.
‘Typically the seller tries to persuade the buyer to pay a fee for the dog without actually seeing it.'
Victims are then often tricked into paying additional transport costs, sometimes to send puppies from overseas.
In one case a family handed over $ 750 for a Labrador pup and another $ 200 to have it sent from Newcastle to Parramatta in Sydney so it would arrive for their daughter's 13th birthday.
However, the dog never turned up and all attempts to contact the seller failed.
‘Scammers prey upon anyone, including families, who just want to give a dog a good home,' Ms Rickard said.
‘If you are looking for a new furry friend, choose your seller carefully so that you actually get what you paid for.'
The ACCC urges buyers not to trust the legitimacy of an ad just because it appears in a reputable newspaper or on a classifieds website, and to avoid requests for up-front payment by money order or international wire
Pet the damn dog.
Sooooo cute <33
OMG how adorable!
looks like my grandmas bulldog when he was a puppy :0
Don’t think he likes the camera
thats well cute lol
sososo CUTE!!! 😀
awwww!! so cute!!!
Aww my Rowdy used to be like that when he was that little . To be honest he still is at 1 yr and 2 moth old . Whines worse now when he wants attention
Cuteness overload *o* <333
Awww look at that smushy little face /)*3*(
aw!! Hey if anyone has time please go to my page and watch the video of my dog Skylar. She is in need of everyone’s help. Either go to my page or type please help Skylar in the youtube search bar. Thank you
this bulldog is cute but it has an ugly face.
Oh my gosh at 00:55 I got out from home to buy one… THAT’S SO CUTEE
0:07 OH STOP IT, YOU.
Aw, talkative lil guy. My pup, well not so much a pup any more, does nothing but talk back to me.