Puppy stolen during scam

By Greg Collier

Previously, we’ve discussed many reasons why you shouldn’t buy a puppy online. In summary, there are two main scams that happen when trying to buy a puppy online. There’s the scam where the puppy doesn’t even exist, but the scammers keep asking victims for additional funds for things like a special shipping crate, traveling insurance for the puppy, etc.

Then there are the backyard breeders, who are essentially a homegrown puppy mill. They’re the people who just keep breeding puppies in dismal conditions and don’t care about the welfare of the puppies. Often they’ll sell puppies with infectious and sometimes terminal disease.

But, did you know there’s also a scam that targets people who are selling puppies online? A seller in Cerritos, California, was selling American Bully puppies through Craigslist for $2000. The seller met a woman who wanted to buy one of the puppies in the parking lot of a local mall. The woman asked to pay through Zelle and asked to hold the puppy while the transfer went through. By the time the Zelle transfer was denied, the woman had walked away with the puppy into the mall and fled the scene.

If we had to hazard a guess, we’d say the scammer will probably try to sell the puppy themselves. If not on Craigslist, then on some other online marketplace. Due to the myriad of animal welfare issues with buying and selling pets online, Geebo.com stopped allowing animals to be listed for sale years ago. Craigslist technically does not allow animal sales, but they have a ‘rehoming fee’ loophole, which users take advantage of.

Just like with any item, if you’re going to sell a puppy through an online marketplace, the best way to try to prevent a scam is to meet the buyer at a local police station. While not perfect, this will go a long way in discouraging scam artists and thieves from showing up.