Puppy ScamThere is a large scam that is running on the internet right now. These scammers are constantly opening new websites and they use different emails, names, and phone numbers to run this scam. This scam is the Puppy Scam.

If you buy a puppy over the Internet, not only are you risking supporting puppy mills, you’re also risking being scammed out of your money. According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, hundreds of complaints are filed every year from victims who were scammed when buying a dog online.  This type of scam takes many forms.

Here is how a current Puppy Scam works:

You find a website on the internet like heidifrenchbulldogs.net. They have just the puppy you are looking for.  The only problem is, the pictures for the puppy are from another breeder.  Many of these scammers take pictures from puppyfind.com and reuse them.

You contact them by phone or email and they are happy to ship the puppy to you for $500 with free shipping.  They seem nice and answer all your questions.

They take your money from you with a payment that does not allow refunds like Western Union wire transfer, money order, Walmart 2 Walmart, Green Dot.

You receive flight information from them for the shipment of your puppy.  When you contact the carrier you will find the information is not valid.

Then you receive an email notification from a service like Petsmart Re-locator (does not actually exist) and they ask for $750 in pet insurance to cover the puppy during the flight. They claim the $750 is 100% REFUNDABLE and will be given back to you on the delivery of the puppy.

After, they have your money you will never hear from them again.

How to avoid the Puppy Scam:

The best way to avoid being scammed is to simply never buy a dog you haven’t met in person. While the Internet can be a valuable tool for finding a responsible breeder or breed rescue group, please make sure to follow these tips when using the Internet to find a pup:

  • Always visit. Responsible breeders and rescue groups will be more than happy to offer you a tour.
  • Always pick your puppy up at the kennel. Do not have the puppy shipped or meet at a random location.
  • Always check references, including others who have purchased pets from this breeder and the veterinarian the breeder works with.
  • Be sure to deal directly with a breeder, not a broker.
  • Never send Western Union or money order payments.
  • If you are told that there will be no refunds for a sick puppy, you are most probably dealing with a puppy mill. A reputable breeder or rescue group will always take the puppy back, regardless of the reason.

– Source aspca.org

A good way to determine if a picture of a dog or puppy posted for sale is really for sale, or is simply a stolen picture, is to ask the seller to send you a picture of that same dog or puppy with a piece of paper with the date and your name written on it. Beware of doctored pictures, so ask to see different shots of the same dog in different poses with your piece of paper in it.

If you feel you have been a victim of the Puppy Scam, please contact the following organization:

Internet Crime Complaint Center

Example puppy scam websites that are up and running at the time of this report: