Puppy scam back in time for holidays

Puppy scam back in time for holidays

By Greg Collier

With the holidays approaching, many people may be looking to add a new pet to their families. These same people may also not be aware of the pitfalls that await them when trying to buy a puppy online. When online puppy scams first started they were simple. The scammer would place an online ad for a trendy breed of puppy for sale, where the price would be well below market value. The victim would send their money for the puppy, but the puppy would never show up because the puppy never existed. While this scam is generally the same, in more recent times, scammers have added extra steps to try to get their victims to pay even more money.

For example, a Michigan woman was scammed out of $5300 when she fell victim to a puppy scam. Not only did the scammer ask for the price of the puppy, but also said there were additional fees for shipping the puppy. This included shipping insurance, vaccines, and housing among other charges. More often than not, scammers will also try to charge victims for a special shipping crate. The victim was also instructed to send all payments through the Zelle app, which we know now doesn’t have the best protection when it comes to scammers.

If you are thinking about getting a puppy this holiday season, please take the decision seriously. Depending on the breed, some dogs can live as long as 20 years. Getting a puppy is something you and your family should be physically and financially ready for. Too many people who adopted pets during the pandemic ended up leaving them at shelters and abandoning them.

However, if you have given this decision serious thought, try to avoid buying a puppy online. Scammers often set up phony websites with stolen pictures of puppies to make it look like they are legitimate breeders. Your best bet is to stick with a local breeder. Make sure that the breeder is licensed, as backyard breeders often sell puppies that have terminal illnesses like parvo.

But before you head to your local breeder, we ask that you stop at your local animal shelter or humane society first. More often than not, you can adopt a dog, puppy or even a cat at little to no cost, and many shelters have already given the animals their first set of shots. Shelter dogs get a bad rap because too many people think that they’re problem dogs, but in most cases they’re at the shelter through no fault of their own.