Beware of puppy scams

December 5, 2016

Several consumers have reported losing hundreds of dollars trying to buy a puppy online in recent weeks.

In a typical puppy scam, a consumer finds an ad for a puppy online. The consumer communicates with the seller, agrees to buy the puppy, and wires a few hundred dollars to have the puppy delivered. After the consumer pays, the seller demands more money for seemingly legitimate costs, such as for a crate, shots, shipping insurance, or other transportation fees. Generally, consumers who pay receive nothing in return. In some cases, consumers receive a puppy but say the puppy was sick or did not come with the American Kennel Club registration the seller promised.

In addition to advertising puppies, con artists also may pretend to offer kittens, parrots, or other pets. Generally they communicate with the consumer via email, phone, or text, send pictures of the animal, and ask the consumer to pay using wire transfer or money order.

To avoid scams: