|Sadly, over the course of the past few years, the number of puppy scams appears to
have increased dramatically, and we have been contacted by too many people seeking
a breeder they can trust after being scammed. Scammers make life hard not only for
you, but for us as well. So, we would like to offer some advice for avoiding puppy
scams with the tips and things to watch out for listed below.
|Tips for Avoiding Puppy Scammers
|1. If the breeder does not maintain a dedicated website, beware! Websites give you a static
location with which to maintain contact, and contact is key!
2. Along those same lines, the more contact options you have for the breeder the better. If
you only have a single phone number, beware! Most legitimate breeders have a phone
number and an email address at a minimum.
3. Similarly, beware of those who rarely answer the phone, do not return messages in a
timely manner and/or want to use texting as the only means of communication. Something is
up with these folks! Legitimate breeders answer emails and phone messages quickly, and
while they may also use text as a form of communication, they are happy to speak with you
anytime you call.
4. Beware of those who want you to send money via Western Union and other similar
methods. Real, ethical breeders will use secure payment options that offer buyer's
protection, like PayPal and other similar online payment platforms.
5. Beware of those who won't or say they cannot send you more pictures when requested. It
is not always convenient for us to try to get more pictures of an active puppy, but a
legitimate breeder will happily do so when requested. If the breeder cannot or is not willing
to provide new pictures of a puppy, that is definitely a red flag!
6. If you are unsure about someone, do not be afraid to require them to provide proof that
they do have the puppy in their possession. One of the best ways to do this is to ask them to
take pictures of the puppy with a piece of paper that says the current date on it. If the
breeder will not provide this for you, that is a sign of a problem!
7. Remember, scammers generally post their fake puppy listings on the same sites that
legitimate breeders use, especially the sites that allow for free listings. While most sites do
everything they can to eliminate scammers, it is nearly impossible to catch them all. So, try
to stick to sites that require breeders to pay to list their puppies, like PuppyFind. Scammers
may still have listings there, but are less likely to pay to list puppies. Also, paid sites are
more likely to work harder to eliminate scammers.
8. BEWARE OF CRAIGSLIST! I cannot stress this enough. Legitimate breeders do not
does not allow breeders to post puppies for sale, so if you see puppies listed there, it is either
a scam or someone who does not follow the rules. Either way, it is a bad idea to contact
9. Beware of breeders who will not allow you to visit their homes. While not necessarily a
scam, a breeder who will not allow you to visit is likely hiding something.
10. There is another word of caution that I would like to include here, though it is not
technically a scam. There are several websites (or it might be just one that keeps changing
its name) out there that list puppies from breeders and sell them for the breeders as a type of
referral service. While not technically a scam, these website are not particularly ethical
either. First, breeders and puppy owners generally are not allowed to make contact.
Potential owners phone in and speak to contact center representatives who know absolutely
nothing about the puppy, its parents or the breed. So, when you purchase from these sites,
you are NOT talking to an expert in your breed like you would be if you were speaking with
a reputable breeder. Next, these websites mark the prices of puppies WAY up...most of the
time listing them at double, triple or even more what they pay the breeders for them. Even
worse, I have heard of them charging double or triple for shipping costs too, without telling
the buyer that shipping was included in the original price. The site then pockets all of this
extra money and generally keeps more of the money that is sent to the breeder, while doing
none of the work. Finally, I have heard of scenarios where the website representatives lied
to both the breeder and the buyer to charge more for the puppy and for shipping, none of
which was forwarded to the breeder. There are many of these sites, but the two most
prominent that come up in my searches are Puppy Spot and Purebred Breeders, which
actually may be the same site using different names (a BIG red flag). The best way to
recognize these sites is to look at the phone numbers. Most reputable breeders do not use
toll-free numbers (numbers that begin with 800, 866, 877 etc.). You should be aware that you
can find the exact same puppies for much more reasonable pricing if you look at Puppy Find
or just dig a little more to find the breeder's own website!
This list of tips is based on information I have gathered from those who have contacted me
for a puppy after being scammed by someone else. I will update it as more information