As if we didn’t have enough to worry about these days, now puppy scamming is a rising trend during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Since being homebound, a lot of families have decided to use this time to introduce a new family member into their home. A puppy! Unfortunately for many, buying a puppy online lands them as victims of these trending scams.

The online puppy scamming process goes something like this:

  1. Buyer selects puppy from online “breeder” website. 
  2. Usually, the puppies are selling for much lower prices than other breeders in the area.
  3. Buyers always go through steps they believe will validate the breeder (asking for more videos and pictures of the puppy they desire, confirming phone numbers, etc.)
  4. Once the “breeder” makes the Buyer feel safe by providing other videos, pictures, and having a phone number with an area code that matches with the area they claim to be located, the payment for the puppy and cost of shipping is discussed and agreed upon. 
  5. Buyer sends over payment for the puppy and shipping via Paypal, Venmo, etc. to the “breeder”.
  6. The “breeder” will then either contact the Buyer for more money because of unforeseen extra costs.
  7. When the Buyer objects, that’s when the “breeder” disappears, along with the money the Buyer had already sent, and any chance of the family receiving their new family member.

What’s more disturbing is there are reports of this happening even with local “breeders”.

The process of the online “breeders” is the same. They ask for a deposit to be sent over right away and will then agree on a time and place to meet the Buyer. When the time comes, the “breeders” don’t show up at the agreed time and place.

The most popular breeds used by scammers are Yorkshire Terriers, French Bulldogs, Pomeranians, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Typically the more popular, but harder to obtain breeds. 

Here's how to identify a puppy scam.

Some areas have been getting so many reports of these scams that local Sheriff Offices are sending out text messages to alert the community. 

While I fully understand that rescuing an older dog or puppy isn’t always the right option for some families, I encourage everyone to explore it as an option.

Rescuing versus buying is a way to drastically reduce the chances of falling victim to a puppy scam.

There are some situations when buying from a breeder is the only option. And there is nothing wrong with that. But there is something wrong with supporting irresponsible and unethical breeding.

The high number of people not taking the time to properly research a breeder is one of the main reasons these puppy scams are so successful.

Start off on the right foot of pet ownership. Always take the time to research and learn the qualities of a reputable breeder and support the ones closest to you before buying any puppy. 

Breed checklists like this one, this one, and this one exist all over the internet to make research easier on you. 

As passionate I am about rescuing, I believe it is far more productive to educate people on how to support reputable breeders than shaming them for not rescuing instead. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Do you have a rescue dog you’re proud of?

Show off your rescued dog and start inspiring more people to rescue. 

Click here to learn how with two white stripes.

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