Puppy Scams… a Heart-Breaking Tragedy

The Investigator Newsletter

Volume 15 | Issue 4
February 9th, 2023

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the increase for people wanting pets has skyrocketed. This large-scale increase of online pet shopping has come with a not-so-fun increase in online pet scams. The pandemic has allowed scammers to do their job in a much easier way by making buyers pay the money upfront, or not allowing buyers to see the puppies in person. According to the Better Business Bureau, data has suggested that almost 10,000 puppy scams have been reported over the past three years, with the FTC believing that these statistics are only reported by 10% of the victims. Although the statistics are high, there are easy ways to avoid being scammed out of your future puppy.

In this newsletter, BCSI will address puppy scams, the red flags, and how you can find a safe and reliable breeder! 

What are puppy scams?

Puppy scams are when cyber-criminals post fake litters online or pretend to be someone they are not, typically posting on websites such as Craigslist or Facebook. Puppy scammers tend to use fake or stolen images to entice their victims, usually posting popular “purebred” puppies for a quarter of the price. At times, these scammers will even sell the puppies “for free”, yet charge you loads of money for fraudulent shipping, crate insurance, vaccines, and so on. As for payment methods, puppy scammers like getting you to use gift cards, cash apps, or money wiring. These methods tend to be untraceable. In the end, you will most likely never see your money again, and worst of all, you will never receive your puppy.

What are the red flags?

  • No phone calls.
  • The price is too good to be true.
  • Discounted or negotiable prices.
  • The puppy is free, BUT you must pay for other expenses.
  • Price is increased after the deposit.
  • No refunds, return or warranties against health issues.
  • Sketchy payment methods.
  • Copied or stolen images.
  • Sad, sad, sad story.
  • Same seller with different breeds for sale.

How to find a safe and reliable breeder?

  • Try to keep it face-to-face.
  • Breeder is well-educated about the breed they are selling.
  • Breeder wants an in-house visit.
  • Research breed prices for the breed you are wanting to adopt.
  • Use referrals when adopting a puppy.
  • Call your local vet for their input.
  • Get the breeder’s references and call them.
  • Use a traceable payment method.
  • Consider adopting from a local animal shelter.
  • Always report puppy scams to the authorities. 

BCSI Investigations | Vancouver | Private Investigator | Firm Profile

BCSI has undertaken numerous cases involving cyber crimes such as fraud or enticement leading to fraud. If you or anyone you know has been a victim of a puppy scam, please reach out to us for a free consultation with one of our experienced investigators at 604-922-6572 or via email at info@picanada.ca.

For more information about us and the types of services we offer, please visit our website to learn more at www.picanada.ca

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