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How to Avoid scammers

How to Avoid being Scammed When Buying an Australian Mist Kitten

 

Scamming is an international blood sport.  Scammers are the poisonous weeds of the internet.  As the majority of cat breeders are hobby breeders we have escaped these parasites up to now.  Well no longer.  A fan of the Australian Mist brought to our attention that Australian Mist kittens were appearing on "free to a good home" sites.  It is a quite sophisticated scam as you would need a lot of knowledge of firstly the breed and then how hobbyists sell their kittens and lastly how transport companies operate in order to catch them at it.

Site which hosts these scammers are the cat adoption sites.   I am sure that not all of the adverts on this site (and other sites like it) are scams but the very way in which these sites operate makes them open to abuse by scammers.

The current adverts are for a number of free to a good home kittens.  The adverts are geographically scattered around Australia in areas where no genuine Australian Mist breeders exist.  Other ones are from "people' claiming to need to re-home the kittens or cats.  Of the ones I checked that I noticed the use of professional photographs of the kittens.  In fact one group of geographically disparate sellers all used the same photograph (duh!).  It was obviously stolen from a breeder's website.  The kittens might be free but after you negotiate you are then contacted by a transport company who is to bring the kitten to you.  They ask for the cost of this.  This is where the scammer's knowledge falls down as any breeder will tell you that WE have to organise transport, pay for it and re-coup it from the buyer.  No transport company is going to do our work for us.  So if this happens to you DON'T send the money because you will lose it and end up with no kitten.  As the money is always sent internationally the chances of recovering it is non-existent.

As I said there are genuine adverts in amongst all the scams.  Most breeders will advertise on their own sites for re-homing kittens and cats that can no longer be kept by their owners.  So always check breeders sites first.  Also no breeder will sell kittens "free to a good home" as these are the very kittens which end up in the local pound when they are no longer cute.

People often ask me whether a cat they have rescued or been given is an Australian Mist.  My answer to that will help weed out scammers as well.  An Australian Mist is a pedigree cat bred by a registered breeder and comes with a registered pedigree papers issued by a genuine cat registering body. A so-called pedigree printed out by "the breeder' on their computer is not proof that the cat is a pedigree breed. The REGISTERED PEDIGREE is what makes a genuine Mist as without it you have no idea of the provenance of the cat no matter how much it looks like a Mist.  Most breeders can tell a Mist from a mixed breed shorthair tabbys and there are dead give-aways such as the cat being a tortie or having large amounts of white on it.  Photos of Mists on the above websites included cats with white, torties and even longhair cats which is genetically impossible for a shorthair breed.

If you see any of these scam or know you have been scammed you should report the scammer to the relevant authorities.  It is no use complaining to the website owner as they invariably take no notice of the complaints.  They only want to have lots of adverts on their sites.

Report any scams to: https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/content/index.phtml/tag/reportascam/

 

and lastly follow the Golden rules to avoid scams:

Golden rules

  • If it looks too good to be true—it probably is.
  • ALWAYS get independent advice if an offer involves significant money, time or commitment.
  • Remember there are no get-rich-quick schemes: the only people who make money are the scammers.
  • Do not agree to offers or deals straight away: tell the person that you are not interested or that you want to get some independent advice before making a decision.
  • You can contact your local office of fair trading, ASIC or the ACCC for assistance.
  • NEVER send money or give credit card or online account details to anyone you do not know and trust.
  • Check your bank account and credit card statements when you get them. If you see a transaction you cannot explain, report it to your credit union or bank.
  • Keep your credit and ATM cards safe. Do not share your personal identity number with anyone. Do not keep any written copy of your PIN with the card.