Buying a puppy online could quickly lead to you paying thousands of dollars but remaining dog-less. How? Because con artists are operating puppy scams and are being able to get away with it. Some victims of puppy scams have reported losing up to $20,000 and not receiving a puppy.
Better Business Bureau (BBB) conducted a study on Craigslist puppy scams (and another similar online sale of dogs) and found that 12.5 percent of the reported fraud on purchase sites was directly related to scams involving puppy sales as customers filed tens of thousands of complaints.
In this article, we will be diving deep into the subject, helping you understand how these scams work, and giving you tips on avoiding them. please make sure you share this article after reading it to save another person from becoming a victim
What exactly is a puppy Scam?
Puppy scammers advertise fake litters online or claim to be someone else (usually an established breeder) to make money off the sales of puppies (sans their puppies.) If you don’t take your time, you may discover that perfect dog and pay the breeder your money but never receive a puppy or follow-up messages.
Fraudsters typically target those looking for an all-bred dog but aren’t willing to shell out a large sum for the dog.
While many of these fake listings are posted on websites such as Craigslist, Some scammers have found ways to portray themselves as credible breeders by taking personal information from their clients.
Fortunately, it’s simple to determine what to be looking for to ensure that your puppy purchasing is secure and enjoyable.
11 waysto Identify A puppy Scam
No phone calls.
Before selling puppies to you, a reliable breeder will contact you via video or phone chat (if not in person). The seller prefers handling the communication via email rather than the telephone. False sellers usually are out within the U.S. and may conceal their phone numbers via email.
Copycat or stock photos
The dog’s photos or text from the advertisement are available on various websites. Look for the text on the ad to determine whether the seller has copied and pasted the text from a different website.
The seller will request a wire of funds or payments using gift cards. Beware that if you opt for a less secure payment method, it’s likely that you won’t be able to get a refund of your funds. Don’t pay a stranger with applications like Venmo since it’s more difficult to get refunds if you fail to receive the goods you bought. Payments made with credit cards or PayPal are usually the safest choices.
Very Cheap Puppies.
Find out the cost of the breed you’re considering before you decide. Purebred dogs offered at discounted prices are usually fraudulent. If the seller claims to be registered with a particular organization, you can contact the company to verify.
Price Negotiable or Discounted
While some breeders with a good reputation offer dogs they believe aren’t “show-worthy” at a discount, dogs that are not show-worthy will generally be neutered.
If you find claims about the dog still suitable for breeding future puppies in the advertisement or website, you’ve likely stumbled across a pet advertised for sale.
It’s for free (But you have to pay for shipping)
It is a standard method that is used on websites like Craigslist. The seller claims they would like to take the dog back, and you’ll only have to pay for transportation.
They’ll need to transfer funds via Western Union or MoneyGram (or utilize a debit card with a prepay option) and secure your dog’s security.
It is impossible to trace these money wires. They will also continue to email you about any additional charges like faster or more secure shipping times, etc.
No refunds and Returns or Warranties for health problems.
Responsible breeders are accountable for their dogs and trust the dogs they breed.
If you find an issue with your dog, they will help fix it or accept the dog back for full reimbursement.
Fake ones cannot be able to do that.
A trusted breeder can provide you with the complete pedigree of your dog without difficulty and health information, and everything else you’d like to be aware of.
A fraudulent breeder may not possess this information. However, they could fake it.
The Price Will Increase Following the Deposit
When you choose a reliable breeder, the price you’re offered will be guaranteed. The “extras” are itemized before the deposit and clearly stated in writing.
Fraudsters typically include the “extras” one by one with astronomical crate charges of over $1800. Travel insurance up to $1,000, higher shipping costs, and delivery from the airport to your door.
Notice that certain airports must collect live animals on the premises and with the appropriate documentation.
Sometimes, the “seller” will promise a partial reimbursement of insurance or shipping costs if the dog is secure delivery.
It’s a baited hook that makes you feel safer, and you can have to pay more. They can also try to pressure you to feel more secure by telling you that not paying more fees could lose the dog you’ve chosen.
And even more alarmingly, they’ll claim to notify the FBI for abuse of animals because your failure to pay put the dog at risk.
This is mainly seen in Facebook advertisements. The reason why someone is selling or rehoming their puppy or adult dog grows more complicated and heartbreaking as it develops.
There’s a loss within the family, loss of employment, and moving to a new location that does not allow pets. Sometimes, this is true; however, you should be wary unless you can verify that.
Photos that appear in Other Places
The fastest method to spot puppy scams is to look at the pictures posted by the seller to determine if they’ve been previously published in another publication.
Fraudsters usually use photos of real dogs from other advertisements or Facebook posts. You can use the reverse search feature of Google to determine whether that image has been shared elsewhere.
The same seller, but Different Breeds for Sale
It could happen at any time. However, you’ll typically see it happen at Christmas time when people are more worried about the new pet in their family.
Most breeders with good reputations don’t sell multiple breeds, and they will only concentrate on one species. However, fraudsters may market diverse species. It could be on the same website or ad or separately.
But you can also search for their email address and see the other ads with separate breeds.
How many people have been affected by the Puppy Scams?
According to BBB information, close to 10,000 scam complaints and reports have been received regarding “businesses” selling puppies and dogs in the past three years. The FTC estimates that less than 10% of victims report the crimes, but the actual number could be more significant.
60% of the accounts said that the purchasers did not receive their bought pet. Others received animals with genetic or health issues and were not provided with documents for their pets.
“Scammers love to take advantage of people in high emotion situations,” said Steve Bernas, president, and CEO of BBB, serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “The excitement of purchasing the latest pet could make it difficult to judge the right thing. The victims may be hurt emotionally and financially once they discover they’ve lost their money and their hopes for an animal’s future.”
How to Stay Away from Puppy Scams
While scammers may begin talking about money right away, authentic sources will be patient and diligent in ensuring that the dog you select is suitable for your family.
Don’t Buy Online
Please do not buy anything on the internet unless you have the opportunity to go to the dog’s home to meet it.
Based on the above study, many websites offer pets for sale, and 80 percent are frauds.
Breeders with good reputations usually have waiting lists and more professional methods for marketing. Also, you’ll like to meet and greet them, no less.
Be aware of the breed you’ve chosen and its rules. A professional and reliable dog breeder will always be available to answer questions as they take care of their pets.
Some cities do not permit this breed. For instance, consider Pit Bulls. The breeder should be aware of this and will have to investigate you before offering it to you.
Meet other pet owners. It is also possible to stop by an event for dogs in the area or go to the shelter.
You can collect many details from people passionate about dogs and willing to recommend you to others.
Review and analyze referrals and reviews.
The best source for purebred pups will include numerous positive reviews or references from satisfied owners of puppies, which proves they are reliable and trustworthy.
Don’t be fooled by AKC.
The AKC gathers information and conducts inspections of breeders all over the United States. For anyone who wants to buy pure breeds, This is a good starting point to find a reputable seller.
Begin by meeting your breeder or the puppy seller.
Always request to speak on the phone or via video chat. A meeting in person is ideal when it’s possible.
After seeing them close and talking to the breeder or group leader, you can buy a dog.
Take a first look around the dog’s area. Check out how neat it is and how professional it appears.
Reliable breeders, as well as sellers, are eager to talk and share knowledge about dogs. You can ask anything you’d like to be aware of about the breed, the breeder, and the available puppies. You can inquire about the breed and how your pup’s parents are compared with the official breed standard and other characteristics. What size are the parents? What are their looks? How do you judge their temperament? Exhibit? Did the parents have any AKC title or award?
Ask For proof.
Don’t be shy. Responsible breeders are happy to give you information about your puppy’s parents and evidence of health records and screenings. Ensuring that a licensed vet has examined your puppy is vital and knows where it is on the shot schedule. This will help you obtain the correct medical information before returning your puppy and know what shots will be required next.
Before leaving with your puppy, you’ll receive a copy of your dog’s paperwork. You should see “American Kennel Club,” The AKC logo must be prominently evident in the documents. If the breeder or seller is hesitant to hand you documents, it’s usually a warning sign.
Many people think that everything is upward and downs simply because they’ve provided references.
Utilize these references and then contact them. You can ask them questions specific to their experience selling a dog. If you only get fuzzy, vague responses, it indicates something wrong.
Pay using a Credit card.
Avoid wire transfers at any cost. You should be able to trace your payment to dispute the purchase should you need to.
Kreditkartes are the best to use for this. You can quickly issue a chargeback if you’re fraudulently swindled.
If they appear eager to close the deal or collect your money as quickly as possible, or you believe they are trying to force you into making an immediate decision about the possibility of a puppy, take care. Such behavior is typically an indication that the person you’re dealing with is an extortionist and that there’s no puppy to be found.
Important Information About the Puppy Scams:
- Scammers usually target people in their teens and the twenties, health illnesses, and older people.
- A minimum of 80percent of pet advertising or websites contain fake information.
- Western Union and MoneyGram are the main channels for fraudsters.
- Most of the victims are primarily from Canada, U.S., Canada, and Australia;
- U.S. states that have the highest number of frauds include California, Texas, Florida along with New York;
- The majority of scammers come originated from Nigeria and Ghana in West Africa;
- The amount that the victims are liable for is $300; however, in some instances, the amount can go up to $20,000
- The most well-known breeds are likely to be featured in these fake advertisements (e.g., Yorkshire Terriers, French Bulldogs, Pomeranians, and Huskies) because many people would love to have these breeds.
How to Report Puppy Scams To Authorities
If you think you’ve been a victim of an adult or puppy purchasing scam, notify us. Here are a few locations where you can easily accomplish this and assist in stopping puppy scams:
- BBB’s Scam Tracker
- Federal Trade Commission (or call 1-877-FTC-HELP)
- State Attorney General
You may also communicate this information to veterinarians, local animal organizations, Facebook, and other social media sites.
Word of mouth is an effective tool. It can assist another person or family member avoids heartache or the loss of money.
Common Questions on the Pet Scams
To help you avoid becoming a victim of puppy scams or any other pet scam, we’ve gathered some quick and easy information to read in a simple Q&A format.
What Can I Do to Be Safe from Being Scammed by a puppy?
The best way to steer clear of pet scams is to be aware of possible warning signs that could indicate an animal scam.
Find the red flags of fraud that we discussed above, for example, a deal that seems too fantastic to be authentic or unable to reach the person on the phone.
How Do You Identify Pet Scammers?
The most usual warning signs for online scams are the need for instant payment. They may also offer a significant discount on a puppy’s first year or ask for additional cash after depositing the initial amount or if the image used by the scammer appears to be a reverse search.
What is the Best Method to Buy A Puppy?
The most effective way to acquire an animal is to go to the local shelter. They will not defraud you and will give your dog a second chance in the future.
If your dream puppy is purebred, then be cautious to stay away from fraudulent breeders and sellers.
Beware of fake listings, like the need to pay before speaking to you, a refusal to chat via video or over the telephone, and listing various breeds on multiple sites.
Do you consider buying a puppy online safe?
Finding your new pet online is possible, but it’s not easy. In most cases, breeders prefer to meet with the pet in person.
This is also the most effective method to stay clear of puppy scams. In addition, seeing the puppies in person rather than buying them on the internet lets you ensure that your new puppy or puppies are compatible with your existing pets.
Be aware that many people post pets on the internet to defraud others. Buyers should be aware and ensure that you can be sure that no one will take advantage of them.
If you spot one of these warning signs we listed, for example, asking to wire money or imposing additional fees following your initial payment, you should reconsider the procedure.
You can lessen the risk of being a victim by asking for video conferencing to see the dog and meet the dog online.
In the absence of urgent situations like natural disasters, breeders would like to meet with prospective dog owners in person. Since COVID 19, videos have been the new norm.