How to Spot a Puppy Scam

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Puppies tug at our heart strings. There are few among us who can resist the urge to save a puppy who is purportedly going to be turned out onto the street or sent to a shelter. Especially if they are “free to a good home”. This is exactly what makes this scam so successful and pernicious.

The scammers will often advertise the puppies for “free” and only require the new owner pay “shipping and handling”. If the unsuspecting puppy savior falls for the first round and sends the money for shipping, the scammers will then claim that some “paperwork” is wrong or the puppy needs “additional” shots and request for more money. This will continue until the scammers feel they have bled you dry.

There are many excellent articles about the ins and outs including this one from The Better Business Bureau and this one from Scamwatch in Australia.

However most of the scams contain these common themes:

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  • They will ask for payment via Western Union. This is a HUGE red flag. DON’T DO IT. EVER.
  • Puppies will often be Yorkies, Chihuahuas or Bulldogs.
  • Scammer will not have a website, or one which is clearly thrown up hastily.
  • Scammers will often originate in Europe or Africa.


The easiest way to avoid a scam is to ask us! Send us an email and we will let you know if we think something is up. Great breeders and good samaritans do exist, but please make sure you are dealing with a reputable person before financially and emotionally investing in a companion.

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Showing 3 comments
  • Nicole F

    While searching for a puppy online, I’ve witnessed this more and more. They have even sent me the same pictures and variations of some sob story. Here are some contacts I came across in the last 2 days:

    Phone numbers:
    601 724 8607
    805 590 7365
    406 285 7859
    801 516 6768
    347 796 0207


    Most of the individuals claim to be in the United States…but across the country from where ever you are so that you are required to pay for shipping. After hearing the same scam and receiving emails with the same typos, I called one of the individuals out. He proceeded to let his guard down and tried to belittle me stating that he lives in Cameroon and will never becaught. He also said that he makes $10, 000 a day doing this, as well as all of his “Yahoo” friends. They think they are untouchable. Just be wise and consider purchasing puppies locally.

    Nicole F.

  • derek r mckim

    thank you and im glad i looked to researching the email address that i was working with i felt that something was up and you have saved me for gettin my hopes to high good deal and happy new year!

  • Amie

    Telephone number 347 796 0207 goes by the name Karen email is a complete scam!

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