Updated: Sep 17
Do you like dogs? I like dogs, especially those small mini ones. In fact, I have already decided that if I were to get a dog in the future, it would either be a mini labradoodle or a poodle. I mean, they are just so cute with their furry bodies and floppy ears! But I am digressing. There is actually a point I am trying to make here!
Now what if I told you that online puppy scams are a thing and has amounted to over $300,000? Now that is a scary and worrying thought isn’t it. Imagine if my dear Teddy (yes I have actually already thought of a name for my future dog) became a part of these scams? I sure would not want that to happen.
So let me tell you a story about a person named Jane Doe (not her real name) and her experience with online puppy scams.
Jane Doe lives with her six dogs and cat in New South Wales, 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.
Jane was contacted on Gumtree by a prospective buyer for her off-and-on puppy breeding services. The supposed buyer ironically told Jane that she had been scammed in the past, and that she would only trust the service if Jane provided a picture of her license and registered breeder number.
Now, Jane didn’t know at the time that this was an attempt by a scammer eliciting information for identity theft, so she provided the information as requested.
The scammer went on to use Jane’s information in countless scams, embezzling funds from unknowing buyers by using Jane’s name, business, and pictures. Now, Jane has scam victims regularly arriving at her property after long drives from rural towns, only to be told that they’ve been scammed and need to contact the local police
So what can we learn from Jane’s situation to avoid scams like this?
When to Trust Others Online
The first error that led to Donna being scammed is that she trusted the person she was speaking with online. You can never be certain of who you’re speaking with online, and as such, you should treat every single interaction with a grain of salt.
Some steps you can use to stay safe in your online interactions are as follows:
Never let money get involved: Jane not only provided her license to the scammer in this story, but she also lent them $300 dollars to “help them out of a tight spot”. Needless to say, she never saw this money again. Even though it was out of the goodness of her heart; if you haven’t met and confirmed the person, never give or loan money to them.
Set limits to your online interactions: Whether you’re talking with a stranger, co-worker, friend, or family member, you can never be sure that the person on the other end of the screen is actually who you think they are. As such, set clearly defined limits to the information you’re willing to share online and always act under the assumption that you could be speaking with an imposter.
Think twice before sharing personal information: Any time someone asks you for personal information online should be seen as a red flag. In Jane’s case, she complied with the request and provided her license information, which led to her eventual identity-theft. Even if it’s convenient or if you’re being pressured, always work out a safe alternative rather than providing confidential information.
So, are you curious to find out about the second error Jane made? Well, stay tuned for next week’s article to find out more! And maybe, just maybe, I will tell you more about my future imaginary dogs J
In the meantime, cybersecurity has always been a threat and continues to be one. So it is very crucial that your business starts boosting your IT Security and Cybersecurity now!
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