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How not to get scammed over buying a puppy.

S scottish terrier holding a cup of coffee

If you’re looking for a furry new family member online, chances are good that you’ll find a scam. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) estimates that 80 percent of sponsored search links for pet sales may be fraudulent, advertising animals the supposed sellers don’t own.

Pet scams hook consumers with adorable photos and heart-tugging tales of critters in need of forever homes. They usually involve puppies, but any kind of animal that people seek as a companion can be the subject of fraud, from cats and older dogs to birds, horses and exotic pets.

Please keep in mind that alot of puppy advertisement pictures are fake or stolen pictures.

The number one recommendation I have if buying a new puppy is to have the breeder or seller take a fresh photo of the puppy while holding up a piece of paper with your name and the current date on it. If the breeder cannot do this for you and gives you all kinds of excuses of why they cant. BEWARE.......Then its probably 100% a scammer.

Warning Signs To Watch Out For:

  • The asking price for a dog or cat is far below the normal rate for a popular breed.

  • Emails from the seller or the shipping company have poor spelling and grammar.

  • The seller demands payment by money transfer (such as Western Union or MoneyGram), gift card or prepaid debit card.

  • The shipment is continually held up by demands that you wire more money for, say, insurance, pet food, veterinary care or a special crate.

  • A legitimate breeder or seller will provide specific information about their location, including a physical address.  Be suspicious if the seller avoids providing such details or only offers vague information. Most established breeders can be located on Google Maps. Do a search of the address they give you. Example our location HERE.

How to protect yourself:

  • Don’t deal with an advertiser or seller who doesn’t provide a phone number or will communicate only by email or text. Make sure you can speak with the person via telephone.

  • Ask them to send a video or picture of the dog with them while holding up a piece of paper with something on it like your name. This way you can be sure they physically have the dog with them and can’t fake the video/photo by doing a google search for the stolen pictures. They can’t do a search and find a video with that information on it. Any person that really has the dog for sale wouldn’t mind doing this for you. If they can’t provide the video or picture with this then they more than likely don’t have the dog in their possession and are scamming you.

  • Don’t deal with someone who won’t take payment by credit card, which offers you far greater protection in case of fraud or dispute. If the seller insists on payment through wire transfers, money orders, or cryptocurrencies, it’s definitely a red flag.  These payment methods are often used by scammers because they are difficult to trace and offer little recourse for the buyer.

  • Don’t believe threats that the animal will suffer or you will face criminal charges if you don’t continue sending money.

  • Don’t be swayed by authentic-looking websites. Scammers swipe photos, videos and testimonials from legitimate pet sites and create detailed web pages for fake transport companies.

  • Do warn your kids and grandkids. An unusually high proportion of victims of online pet scams are in their late teens or 20s, according to the BBB.

  • Do research what reputable breeders are charging for the breed you are interested in. Be skeptical of deep discounts.

  • The person offering the animal insists on shipping and rebuffs offers to collect the pet in person. Be aware of breeders that don’t offer pickup and only offer shipping as this is the way scammers operate. They don’t have a kennel therefore won’t provide their address for pickup because they don’t have one.

  • A legitimate breeder almost always shows their individual breeding dogs (the Moms and Dads) on their website, often with pedigrees or test results listed. They will also have a puppy contract and give you access to either the exact form or explain what is in the contract, including health guarantees.

Check out Scammers groups on Facebook

You can report a scammer here


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