How to avoid getting scammed while buying a puppy

Now 8 months old, our puppy Rosie is busy tearing up the house and melting our hearts with her sweetness. We researched breeders, checked and double-checked the background and legitimacy.

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I was lucky to have done the homework and dodged obvious scams we encountered early on in the puppy-shopping process from unscrupulous pet scam artists that are abundant online.

The Better Business Bureau is warning that 80% of sponsored pet advertisements online may be fake. With the countless online scams popping up each day, it’s a shocking statistic for pet-lovers to hear that 35% of recent online scams have to do with our furry loved ones.

If you’re looking to bring a new pet, especially a dog, into your home – be sure to watch out for these warning signs so you don’t get scammed.

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Kurt “CyberGuy” Knutsson showing his puppy on camera.
(Fox News)

Whether you are adopting or buying, scammers are taking advantage of the many families looking to bring a new dog home. While they typically strike during popular holidays, these scams are up thanks to the heightened popularity of pandemic puppies. The BBB is now recommending how you can avoid being scammed when it comes to buying pets.

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Person enjoying day with puppies

Person enjoying day with puppies
(Fox News)

Steps to follow to avoid being scammed

1. Research the breed

Before purchasing a dog, especially if it’s a more expensive or rare breed, be sure to do your research. Get a general sense of the prices these dogs usually go for. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. A puppy being sold for super sale is probably not a real puppy, or the puppy has been born into horrible conditions.

2. Reverse search the image of your dog

If you’ve been sent an image of the puppy you’re being told could be yours, do a quick image search online. Search the breed of your dog, and even the description. Scammers often reuse the same photos.

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A computer screenshot of a Google search for dogs.

A computer screenshot of a Google search for dogs.
(Fox News)

3. See the pet in person

Before ever paying any money to an owner or breeder, be sure to meet the dog in person. If for some reason you can’t meet in person, try scheduling a video call. Scammers won’t even respond to these requests, so you’ll have a better chance of weeding out anyone who doesn’t really have a puppy.

4. Check PetScams.com

PetScams.com offers a list of known pet scammer websites. Always check here to make sure you haven’t fallen for a common scamming website for puppies. New websites are added daily.

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Halloween dog

Halloween dog
(Nick LaMonica)

What to do if you get scammed while buying or adopting a pet?

Scammers are finding new ways and creating new websites every day to try and prey on hopeful pet owners. If you believe you are a victim of a pet scam, be sure to follow these steps.

1. Contact your bank

If you gave any personal information or sent any money, be sure to contact your bank or credit card company to report the potential fraud.

2. Report to PetScams.com

You can submit reports here whether you’ve been scammed by a pet website, and if you’ve transferred money while buying or adopting a pet that turned out to be fake.

3. Report to BBB

The Better Business Bureau has a Scam Tracker, where you can search and report pet scams.

4. Report to the FTC

The Federal Trade Commission collects information about all types of scams, including pet scams.

While pets may be a happy addition to families who choose them, be sure you aren’t falling for any tricks while distracted by a cute, furry face.

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Here's where to go to learn about more cyber scams.

Here’s where to go to learn about more cyber scams.
(Fox News)

For more stories about scams you should be aware of, head over to CyberGuy.com/Scams.

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