Puppies for sale! (Puppy not included)

They are cute, adorable little bundles of love. Unfortunately, they are also completely non-existent.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has once again received reports of puppy scams targeting unsuspecting would-be dog owners with a soft spot for cute, fluffy puppies.

The scam, targeting Australian local newspapers and online classifieds, aims to con prospective dog owners into paying - via money transfer - for a pedigree puppy that will never arrive.

"We originally put out a warning on a similar scam earlier this year in January," said a spokesperson for the ACCC.

The January scam offered pedigree puppies that had been 'home raised with children in a loving environment', and were accompanied by 'very cute' photos of the supposed puppies.

The spokesperson said that this time the scammers were targeting smaller publishers that do not charge to place an ad, potentially aiding the scammers to remain anonymous.

"The publishing bodies are often not paid for the advertisements, so they (the scammers) often target small local papers in regional areas."

The spokesperson said the ACCC was unable to give out exact details on where the scam ads were published and how many people had been scammed, but suggests people wary of any up-front payments visit the ACCC's Scamwatch (scamwatch.gov.au) Web site, which details ways to protect yourself from all manner of scams.

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Andrew Hendry

Computerworld

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