Be Prepared

We completely understand how easy it is to fall in love with a puppy from its photos and description online. Unfortunately, some people exploit our affinity for dogs to scam us. In this post, we show you how to identify the warning signs and avoid becoming a victim of a puppy scam.


The overwhelming majority of scams that target dog-loving Americans come from outside the U.S. If the ad or website you came across offering puppies for sale is not based in the United States, we advise you to steer clear. Apart from the likelihood of being conned, there is no shortage of puppies in the United States that would cause you to import from anywhere else.

Tip: You can use a ‘Who Is’ lookup to find out where a website is based.


Many scam artists use Facebook or similar social media sites to engage dog lovers. However, once they scam a user, they usually delete the account and move on to a new one to avoid detection.

This means that a relatively new account with few friends and contacts (if any) should set alarm bells ringing.

Tip: Some scammers try to cover their tracks by creating a network of fake accounts. A few simple clicks will reveal the others to be similarly thin in terms of account history.


The most obvious indication that you are dealing with a scammer is if they ask for money via a wire transfer or money order. These transfers are virtually untraceable once they have been received, and transactions cannot be reversed, as is the case with credit cards.

Some breeds are in especially high demand.

  • French Bulldog
  • Yorkies (Yorkshire Terrier)
  • Goldendoodle
  • German Shepherd
  • Corgis
  • Shih Tzu

Because of this, their prices are just as high. If the amount you are offered is too good to be true, it is too good to be true. Be observant before you get scammed out of a lot of money.

Form of Payment

No reputable breeder will ask you to send money via unconventional forms of payment. If someone asks you to send them money via prepaid cards, or money gram type services BEWARE! No reputable breeder would accept gift cards, money via wire from out of the country, or prepaid cards. These are forms of payment meant to scam you out of your hard-earned money deliberately.

Tip: Do some research on what you would expect to pay for a particular breed. If the offer is significantly lower, walk away.


The Good Guys

By contrast, responsible breeders are very open in their approach. The best ones will have domain-specific email addresses (instead of generic Gmail or Yahoo ones) and may even have a canine-related number (1-800-I-Bark-4-U). They also tend to have long term guarantees.

Most will engage you and welcome your questions. They are also accessible with a straightforward phone call.

Another characteristic of reliable breeders is that they keep comprehensive health records. Make sure you receive a history of up to date health checks & vaccinations. Premium service providers may even throw in a lifetime health guarantee.

Don’t get scammed buying a puppy. Research current pet scams so you won’t fall victim. Use these tips, and you can add a furry little member to your family without all that unnecessary stress and drama. Good luck!