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A warning for consumers about an online scam involving puppies

Last Updated Feb 21, 2016 at 8:49 am PDT

Summary

BC's Better Business Bureau says we need to be aware of a puppy scam making the rounds online

Victims answered ads from apparently legitimate dog breeders offering free puppies

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The BC Better Business Bureau says they have received calls about a scam offering up free puppies.

The posts on Craigslist and Kijiji promise the “breeder” will send the dogs if the interested pet owner will wire money to cover the cost of air transportation.

A few days after the money is sent, the buyer is contacted again by the scammer, who says they need more money for things like vaccinations and travel insurance.

“The latest call involved a young mother who thought she was getting two puppies from Halifax and wired them 800 dollars.” says Evan Kelly with the BBB.

“It was a pretty slick operation. She was even shown the dogs via Skype. The breeder said the dogs were stuck at the airport in Edmonton and required a further 1700 dollars, a quick call confirmed the airport had no dogs at all. This is a bad scam because we all love our pets and want to welcome them as part of the family. Not only do victims lose money, but there’s an emotional impact as well.”

Tips to avoid a puppy scam:

  • Always visit the breeder. Responsible breeders are more than happy to give you a tour and see the puppies first hand.
  • Look for warning signs on fake websites. Fake breeder sites look real and offer a plethora of cute puppies for sale. The content is typically stolen so search the web for the same images of dogs.
  • Search for the domain name on “WHOIS Lookup.” Make sure the site is hosted in the country the breeder claims to be located.
  • Ask for references. A legitimate breeder should be able and willing to provide references.
  • Pay with credit card. Never wire money to people you don’t know.
  • Research reputable animal shipping companies. If the seller is legit, they should have no problem with you arranging pick up and drop off.