PSAA was founded in 2020 by Sandra when she was scammed by buying a new puppy for her elderly mum during the Covid pandemic.
Like many, Sandra started her search for a puppy through local pounds and kennels only to find that most had run out of dogs to adopt! Sandra turned to classifieds and responded to an ad promoting a Toy Poodle for $1600 on a reputable website. After an exchange of photo ID, Sandra transferred the funds with a promise that the pet would be couriered the next day.
The sophisticated scammer contacted Sandra, posing as transport and logistics, requesting an additional $500 for cabin pressure vaccine. This was the first warning sign for Sandra, knowing, as a previous vet nurse, that such a vaccine did not exist. Sandra called the bank to stop the transaction, but it was too late.
Sandra reported the crime to various agencies like Scam Watch, Report Cyber, the ACCC, and Crime Stoppers, however to date she has never been contacted by any of them. Sandra then took to social media and found many others that had also been scammed. She soon realised there was a need to help raise awareness and provide support to victims like her and started the Puppy Scam Awareness Australia Facebook group, together with Marie, an active member of the pet community, who helped research and piece together how the scammers work.
Sandra and her team have helped other victims find scam syndicates, exposing known scammers, and providing information to help pet shoppers know what to look out for. Since they started they have reported hundreds of scam sites, successfully shutting them down.
PSAA has now become a key support group for victims of pet scamming and is working with stakeholder groups to actively expose and shut down scamming sites for good.
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