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How scammers are using puppies ahead of Black Friday sales

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Detectives say criminals are set to target the online extravaganza and are urging the public to be weary.

Queensland Police have revealed how scammers are using puppies to con buyers while giving a warning to shoppers ahead of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

Detectives say criminals are set to target the online extravaganzas and are urging the public to be weary.

National scam monitoring body, Scamwatch has revealed online shopping scam losses have increased by 42 per cent in 2020, with approximately $7 million in loses reported.

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Puppies in a basket stock image

Police say scammers are using fake website that look like genuine online stores, posting fake ads on classified websites and often claim they're travelling or will ask for a deposit or cryptocurrency.

"Do your research, your due diligence, check legitimate websites and make comparisons between costs," Detective Inspector Vince Byrnes said.

"We want you to be safe online and stop these scammers taking your hard earned money."

Inspector Byrnes revealed how scammers had used puppies to trick people into handing over $2 million in cash during the coronavirus pandemic.

"This is where a person will buy a puppy online, unseen, due to COVID restrictions you can't visit the animal," he said.

"We have seen puppy scams in Australia to the extent that the person has not only lost money, but then they have been asked to pay for that non-existent puppy's funeral and the person has paid those monies."

The public is being urged to watch for popular products, like drones, telephones and shoes, that are being offered at extremely discounted prices during the sales.

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"Whatever you would like to buy online, the scammers have a footprint in that area," he said.

"They're focusing on those high volume attractive items to build their scams around for the purpose of extracting your money from you."

Police say consumers should not click on suspicious links and instead go direct to websites with "https" in the URL.

The "s" stands for secure, and represents an extra security layer.

Shoppers are also being urged to avoid public wifi when making a purchase and to only use trustworthy online payment systems.

"When paying online, we ask that you use a credit card or known payment platform, these offer digital safeguards and consumer protection," Inspector Byrnes said.

"By sending bitcoin or cryptocurrency payments or direct bank transfer, you lack the security these known sites will give you."

Source: 9News

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