Puppy Scams

and how to avoid them

Buying a puppy is such an exciting time for a family, like bringing a new baby home from the hospital, how can something so tiny bring so much love…..and chaos?!

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Choosing the right pet for you is a difficult process and to buy a puppy these days can be costly; one of the biggest things you have to worry about is that the animal you’re getting and its parent animals have been treated well and that any deal you enter into is legitimate. None of us want to help contribute to scams where animals are mistreated or get drawn into criminal dealings with people who have no puppy to sell/give but just want to take your money.

These pet adoption puppy scams have become more widespread as more people search for puppies to purchase online. We’d like to point out some warning signs to you so that you don’t get caught out when searching for your new furry friend.

How do these scams work?
Usually they appear on free websites like Gumtree or Facebook. Someone will post an advert saying they are giving away a puppy for free. Most likely they will give a reason designed to garner sympathy for the animal and its owner, suggesting they are terribly sad to give up the much loved pet but their child is allergic to it / they lost their job and can’t afford to keep it / they are rehoming an elderly relative’s pet since they have gone into a home. You get the idea! They will be offering the animal for free (or for a very low price) but you will need to pay for its transport – they will usually be located at the other end of the country or even abroad since this will make the cost higher. Many of these scams seem to have connections with Cameroon.

If you read anything like this – THIS IS A SCAM! Please do not even engage with these scammers. In all likelihood there is no puppy but the one thing which is for sure is that they will take your money and run without giving you a second thought. 

Here are some signs that may make you feel uneasy about the deal:-

They will ask that you transfer money using an untraceable service like Western Union, MoneyGram or UKash. They may even use logos and details of more well-known companies to appear more trustworthy.  Look out for a physical address somewhere on the site and a landline phone number – if you can’t see one this could be a warning sign. Likewise if the only contact details are free email addresses, don’t forget that anyone, anywhere in the world can sign up to these. Another good tipoff is their spelling and grammar – warning bells should be ringing if they can’t write coherently.

There are a few ways in which you can check up on the “owner”. The first and most simple, is to Google them. If they have been involved in scams in the past the chances are someone will have talked about this online. If they say they are affiliated with a particular shipping company, contact that company to check – do all of this before you even consider engaging with the advertiser.

If you think you have uncovered a scam then you must report this to the authorities to help crack down and stop these criminals preying on animal lovers just like you.



Please share this article so we can help put a stop to these puppy scams



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