The scam post has circulating on Facebook
The scam post has been circulating on Facebook. Image by Facebook

Stolen dog post just another heartless scam

Lachlan Coady June 25, 2023

CCTV has captured the moment a gunman stole a dog from an Australian family.


False. This image is part of a coordinated online scam.

CCTV of an alleged dog theft in the US is being used as part of an online scam in Australia.

Near identical versions have been posted in local Facebook groups in both Australia and the UK, with a plea to share the contents far and wide.

But the posts are part of a scam, with the contents later being altered to feature home rental adverts with suspicious links (examples here and here).

There are dozens of examples of the post, usually in local community groups on Facebook, see here, here, here and here.

There are also multiple versions circulating on Twitter.

The wording, which includes a plea to find a “pup” stolen by a “thief”, is nearly identical across the posts.  In each post, the name of the location is tweaked to match the Facebook group.

The posts feature three images: One of the dog lying on the grass and another two of a hooded man with a gun in one hand and the dog in the other.

It appears the images are genuine with AAP FactCheck tracing them back to an alleged incident in New Jersey, as reported by a local news site.

It is the latest in a long line of scams highlighted by AAP FactCheck, see others here, here, here and here.

The scams feature many of the same characteristics. Comments have been disabled to stop savvy users from notifying others of the scam. They are often posted by new Facebook accounts with blank profile pictures and they use emotive language and storylines to prompt engagement.

Once the posts have gained a certain amount of engagement, the content is changed.

In this case, they are being changed to feature an advertisement about home rentals with suspicious links.

By selecting the edit history of these posts (here and here), you can see they both originally featured the stolen dog plea.

The Verdict

Posts being spread showing a CCTV image of a man supposedly stealing a dog are part of an online scam.

Dozens of versions of the post have been found in various different local Facebook groups across Australia, the UK and further afield.

False – The claim is inaccurate.

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