Beware of growing COVID-19 Puppy Scams!

BBB Puppy Scam Alert!

May 15, 2020
 cynoclub / Getty Images

cynoclub / Getty Images

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I received an email heads up from the Better Business Bureau about increasing Puppy Scams during this time of the COVID-19 crisis.  Many people have been adopting furbabies from shelters, which is awesome. There has also been a higher volume of puppy sales.  No judging here from me. Puppies need homes, and if you find one you love, and can take care of the puppy ... Do what makes you Happy. 

honey Ted and I have done it both ways. We purchased Huey when we lived in Florida at a store that received puppies at the time from reputable breeders.  We did some investigation on them, met with Huey and made sure it was a fit before we brought him home. He was our furbaby for 16 years, before he took a walk on the rainbow bridge.

Huey 2018

 

Last June 2019 with lots of looking, we had the joy of bringing Rudy Roo home adopted from Austin Pets Alive! Parvo survivor!  There was alot of searching and research done before we found Rudy. It was a bit of luck that it happened too.  

Rudy Roo

Before we started the search in shelters, we found a few puppies that we thought would be perfect. We saw adds online, and emailed about them. Emails came back with info about them, but always a reference about payment first. There wasn't much of a chance to meet them a head of time. We did a bit more research, and found out all the puppies we were interested in were scams. We found the same cute puppy photos all over the internet in different adds. I had read some stories from others that fell into the trap of the scam. They even went as far as going to meet someone at a location to pick up the puppy, and finding no one there. Money taken with no puppy given. 

Having patience and a bit of luck is what got Rudy Roo into the family.  It was a frustrating search, and there were some tears involved having the hopes of adopting a furbaby that got a home before you could meet them. Rudy Roo was the right furbaby for us, even though he is way different from Huey. They will both always be an important part of our family.

 This is one of the reasons I wanted to get the word out about the growing Puppy Scams happening now. The Better Business Bureau has tips to follow when looking for a pup, and how to avoid falling into the scam. I wish you the best in your puppy search, but realize not everyone has a puppy or your best interest in mind. 

This BBB email involved puppy sale websites for Dachshund puppies and also Bengal kittens. Many times the furbabies are purebreeds / or uncommon but popular mixes. 

Puppy scams involve consumers purchasing puppies, or other pets, online from a scammer that claims they will ship the dog to them. After paying for the puppy, the scammer may request more funds to take care of shipping issues or other complications. Once the money is exchanged, the scammer and the victim’s money disappear. Victims later realize the pup they purchased never actually existed, and the photos used on the scammer’s website are often taken from other legitimate online breeders.

BBB also found scammers are citing “new COVID-19 regulations” as a reason to charge more for specialty crates or to avoid allowing consumers to visit the dog before purchase.

BBB Serving the Heart of Texas has investigated three pet sales websites, each of which was traced back to the same individual. All the websites were created during the COVID-19 crisis. Celia Dachshund Home was created in February 2020, Ashley’s Bengal Kittens in March and Amanda’s Dachshund Home in April. Thus far, BBB has received 10 complaints and Scam Tracker reports against these three websites.

One victim stated, “We thought this was going to be our first purchase as a married couple when in return all we did is lose $500 for a puppy that doesn’t even exist. They wanted $770 for a crate because of COVID-19, and I realized I had been scammed. They started texting my husband saying I told them he would pay for the crate.”

To date, the company has not responded any of BBB’s communications and maintains an F rating.

If you are considering bringing a new family member home during this time, use these tips from your Better Business Bureau to avoid puppy scams:

  • Visit the pet before purchasing. Some visits may be possible with proper precautions, such as wearing face masks and maintaining an appropriate distance. If that is not an option, ask to see the puppy over video chat. You can also reverse image search pictures used in ads to see if that photo is used on multiple sites.
  • Avoid wiring money. Scammers will often ask for payment via wire transfer or gift cards. These payment methods are untraceable, and consumers are unable to get their money back if something goes wrong. Use a credit card when making purchases in case a dispute needs to be made.
  • Research the breed. Look around to see what prices your chosen breed sells for. If you find a breeder selling dogs for much lower prices, they could be luring consumers into a scam.
  • Consider local animal shelters. In an effort to prevent overcrowding and relieve stress on the animals, many shelters are looking for volunteers to foster or adopt pets. If you decide to add a new furry family member, check your local shelter first.   

We suggest Austin Pets Alive, Austin Humane SocietyAustin Animal Center and Wee Rescue   Big Love 'n Hugs! Heather, honey Ted & Rudy Roo! 

Rudy Roo, honey Ted and Heather Covid-19 May 2020