New scams are on the rise to gain access to potential kitten owners. Please read the notice from the KwaZulu Natal Cat Club below.
IMPORTANT SCAM NOTICE – BREEDERS AND POTENTIAL OWNERS PLEASE READ
Please note that breeder emails are being targeted by scammers in a new attempt to gain access to potential buyers. Emails are being hacked and a redirect or forwarding email has been added to accounts.
We are aware of 3 cases so far in the past month, 2 of which were last week. Please, all breeders, contact your email hosts and ask them to please change your passwords (and make them DIFFICULT to guess), as well as check for any forwarding email addresses, and run anti-virus on your computers.
The last known email used as a scam was firstname.lastname@example.org – this email has been connected with various scams including yorkshire terriers on Gumtree. We have been in touch with the real Stefani Liebenberg who is aware her name is being used to scam people, but she is not involved in the scams.
SIGNS OF A SCAM & TIPS ON HOW TO IDENTIFY THEM
- Scammers often steal kitten pictures off the internet from other breeders’ websites and Facebook pages. Pop the images into google’s image search to check that the pictures have not come from other breeders.
- Triple check that the email address, phone number and address of the breeder corresponds with the details the registration body has – you can contact the registrars of www.cfsa.co.za or www.tsacc.org.za to check this.
- Take note of terminology or breeds advertised that may not apply to South African breeders. For instance “flame point” is not a standard term in SA. We use the term “red point”. Certain exotic wild breeds such as Savannahs are not legal in South Africa and will not be freely advertised by breeders. You can find a list of terminology on the CFSA and SACC websites under their Standard of Points.
- With an email hack, the scammers will add a forwarding address and bypass the breeder receiving the email and get their FIRST to respond to you. So you may email someone on “email@example.com” for example and get a response back from a totally different email address.
- These guys are smart and regularly scout information from legitimate breeders so they will know how to address you, will ask the right questions and may advertise prices that are low, or seem totally NORMAL. One thing that is a calling card is the exorbitant price advertised to ship a kitten. The average cost to ship a kitten is around R50 per kg (as per Mango and BidAir Cargo). It is unlikely you will pay more than R1000 for a kitten and more than R300 for shipping to major airports in South Africa, (depending on the weight of the kitten and the carrier combined).
- Before you put down a deposit with any breeder, make sure you have done your homework, know what to look for and are aware of the consequences! Avoid websites such as Gumtree, Locanto, Free Classifieds and OLX. Scammers are notorious for advertising on these platforms. Should you come across a scam on one of these websites, please report them!