If you are considering buying a puppy you have seen on the
internet -- BEWARE! We have recently been contacted by several people
who have lost their "puppy deposits" to scammers and on-line thieves!
(NOTE: On May 2, 2019, CBS This Morning did an investigative report called
"Fake breeders are scamming people into buying puppies that
don't exist". One interesting fact that we learned from the report is,
according to the Better Business Bureau, "at least 80 percent of websites
advertising pets for sale, the vast majority believed to be puppies, are frauds
and mostly based in West Africa." Watch or read the report
Use temporary web sites
to post adorable puppies. THESE PUPPIES DO NOT EXIST! The pictures you are
falling in love with are likely stock or "pirated" photos of puppies
the scammer has never even seen. Just do an internet search on "free [your
preferred breed] puppy photos" and see how many pictures come up. (I did,
and actually found the photo at the right of my own adopted dog! It was taken
without permission from his online rescue listing and made available for free
download from two separate "stock" photo sites!)
away cell phones. You may have a contact number one day, and the line is
disconnected the next.
trust with you until you put down a deposit or make a payment. They may
ask for payment by check, money order, prepaid gift cards, whatever -- and
after they get your money, they disappear. Or even worse, contact you again
with a story about some unforeseen circumstance that requires another payment
-- THEN, they disappear with your money.
deliver the puppy someplace near you -- then never show up.
WHAT YOU SHOULD
FIRST AND FOREMOST: DO NOT buy puppies sight unseen
online! INSIST that you must meet the puppies' parents and see
where they live.
information on how to identify a quality breeder. See
"Additional Resources," below,
for articles both on our website, and available from the Wisconsin Department
of Trade, Agriculture, and Consumer Protection (DATCP).
down a deposit until you have met the seller, the puppy and the parents!
are in Wisconsin, ASK for the breeder's/ seller's STATE DOG SELLER LICENSE
screen shots of puppy sellers in case the site disappears.
screen shots and other information to REPORT THE SCAMMERS using the
DATCP Dog Seller complaint form found here.
make it easy for future scammers -- consider "signing" all of the
photos you post of your own dogs. Check your privacy settings on social
media, and consider using copyright notices or watermarks as shown on the
photos on this page.
check your local shelter and rescue websites -- many of them have adorable
puppies and great adult dogs available for adoption. One of them might be the
perfect dog for you!