Pet buyers beware: Puppy scams on the rise

If you're thinking of getting a pet for the holidays, be extra careful.

The Better Business Bureau says puppy-buying scams are on the rise, and up to 80 percent of sponsored advertisements about pets may be fake. 

The BBB says their ScamTracker has 907 reports of this type of fraud and the Federal Trade Commission found 37,000 complaints regarding pets, and a majority of them are believed to be puppy scams. 

One couple found three french bulldogs online, spoke with someone on the phone and paid $500, but on their way to pick the dogs up, the scammer called and asked for another $400. They never got the puppies.

In order to prevent this happening to you: The BBB has some tips to avoid puppy scams: 

  • Don’t buy a pet without seeing it in person. Do an internet search of the picture of the pet you are considering. If the same picture appears on multiple websites, you may be dealing with a fraud. You also can search for text from ads or testimonials to see if the seller copied it from another site.
  • Never pay a stranger with a money order or through Western Union or Moneygram
  • Always use a credit card in case you need to dispute the charges.
  • Research prices for the breed you are interested in adopting. If someone is advertising a purebred dog for free or at a deeply discounted price, you could be dealing with a fraudulent offer.

If you have fallen victim to a puppy scam, the BBB wants you to file a report with their Scam Tracker, you can complain to Petscams.com, or call the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP. 

If you want to read an extensive study about puppy scams done by the BBB click here.

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