The Jane Doe Case: Making Safe Payments Online

Updated: Sep 17

What do y’all think of the name Teddy for a dog? Ok, close your eyes and imagine a cute small white-ish mini labradoodle or poodle with a furry body and floppy ears. Now on the count of 3, what’s the first name that comes into your mind? Is it Teddy? Or is it Pappi? Charlie? Bear? It’s Teddy isn’t it? (Yes, I am asking you for that validation I need for my future dog that I may or may not even get).

Ok, but back to the story. For those of you who did not read last week’s article, please go read it here to catch up! But for those who did, here is a TLDR if you have a goldfish memory like me and have forgotten what I wrote about last week:

A woman named Jane Doe (not her real name) lives with her six dogs and cat in New South Wales, and offers an off-and-on puppy breeding service. And due to a recurring case of identity theft, has spent 2020 dealing with an endless stream of scam victims who have been exploited under her name.

So besides knowing when to trust others online, what else can we learn from Jane’s situation to avoid scams like this?

Making Safe Online Payments

Another piece of Jane’s story is through one of the puppy scam-victims – let’s call him John Doe shall we?

John was in the market for a new puppy to keep his elderly mother company during isolation. He purchased a puppy from a very legitimate-appearing website that used Jane’s stolen details.

John, being a former veterinarian and government department investigator, quickly realised after the purchase that he had fallen victim to a scam. Unfortunately, he had already made a large deposit of $1,600 by that point.

John reported the incident to the bank and local police within 24 hours, but it wasn’t enough to rectify the issue or put his mind at rest, so he took action into his own hands.

Using Google Maps, John tracked down Jane’s address from the stolen license information, acquired her information from the police station, and made contact with Jane directly.

So what can we learn from their experience, especially pertaining to making safe payments online?

  1. Investigate the company first: If you’re making payment to a company for the first time, make sure they are credible and safe. You can do this by checking reviews and forums for other people’s experiences with the company.

  2. Check if the website is safe: While scams are becoming more and more indistinguishable from real websites, there are some safety steps that should be taken with all purchases. Most importantly, always check the URL for typos, misleading characters, and https:// certification.

  3. Use cash: This specifically applies to purchases you’re making in person. In the case of a puppy scam, a surefire way to avoid a scam is to meet in person first. See the puppy, and exchange your money in person. If their policy can’t suit this, be extremely cautious before proceeding with any online transaction.

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