How to avoid puppy scammers.

Bailey’s gotcha day from Midwest Boston Terrier Rescue.

One thing the pandemic has done is increased the number of shelter adoptions and people adding a pet to their family. If you have to be home, you might as well have a new fur friend right???  It’s been great for shelter animals that have found new forever families. But the one downfall is the number of people who have been scammed when attempting to purchase a dog. The amount of dog scams are rising at an alarming rate. So before you contemplate buying a puppy, here are some red flags to be aware of before you send anyone money.

Buyer Beware!

No phone calls. If the seller prefers to handle communication by email and not the phone, beware. A reputable breeder will always communicate with you via phone or video chat (if not in person) before selling you a puppy. Fraudulent sellers are oftentimes outside of the U.S. and may be hiding their phone number by only communicating by email.

Copycat or stock photos. Photos of the dog or ad text can be found on multiple websites. Search for the text in the listing to see if the seller copied and pasted it from another site. Or you can do a Google photo reverse search to see where the photo has been used in the past. Puppy mills and scammers use the trick of stealing dog photos and trying to fool buyers into thinking that is the dog they are buying.

Sketchy payment. If the seller asks for wiring of money or payment by gift cards, do not fall for it. That is the number one way people are scammed. Be aware that if you choose a non-secure method of payment, it is highly unlikely that you will get your money back. Avoid paying a stranger using apps such as Venmo, as it is harder to get your money back if you don’t get what you paid for. Paying by credit card or PayPal are typically the safest options.

Price is too good to be true. Research the prices for the breed you are considering ahead of time. Purebred dogs sold at deeply discounted prices are typically frauds. If the seller says they register their dogs with a specific organization, you can call the organization to confirm.


What you should look for…

A reputable breeder will allow you to see the puppy in person and meet the mother. If they won’t do that, they are either a scammer or a puppy mill.  Stay away from online puppy selling websites. Websites that sell puppies do not research their sellers, so many of them are puppy mills.

Ask the breeder for references. A good breeder should have many years of positive references.

If there is a specific breed you are looking for, start with the breed club in your state. They can give you a list of breeders of merit.

And…. before you buy, think about adopting. There are many dogs of all shapes, sizes, ages and personalities waiting for a forever family. From shelters to breed rescues, there are great dogs just waiting to find a new home.

So enjoy being home more with a fur friend that is glad to see you, no matter what kind of day you’ve had!