If you decide against joining our list then please ensure you buy a puppy from a reputable breeder and avoid a costly mistake with puppy scammers.

How to Avoid Online Puppy Scams



What is Online Pet Scam?

A Puppy Scam is when the puppy either doesn’t arrive or is not the dog in the photo. We, as consumers are venturing more and more into the world of the internet for buying everything. Buying a puppy online today is commonplace with genuine breeder websites advertising litters for export worldwide.

Unfortunately, puppy fraudsters are also online taking advantage of trusting individuals who are quick to reserve a puppy without doing their due diligence into parental health screening or even verifying the seller’s identity.  Animal fraudsters, often involved in other criminal activity,  sadly pose a huge threat to consumers and to reputable breeders. These scammers betray the trust of people adopting or importing a pet from the UK, and of course, they tarnish the reputation of legitimate online canine businesses.


It is important that you know how scammers work so you can take precautions to avoid such adverts online:

  1. Most pet scams begin with a buyer searching online for a puppy and stumbling upon a dog advertised for free or at a discounted price.
  2. Scammers use “clickbait” - photos of happy, healthy pups aimed at attracting prospective families. Usually, you can find these adverts on puppy websites with paid litter advertising. Often the photos and even pedigrees are copied from legitimate breeders so to look convincing. Rare breeds, colours or markings are popular.
  3. There is often a heart-wrenching story of why the puppy is the last one left or needs to be rehomed quickly for their personal reasons - such as a death or sickness in the family.
  4. The family communicates with scammers as the photo looks adorable.  The story is convincing and the price is cheaper than the market value for the breed/colour.
  5. No verified details of the vendor or the puppy are offered.
  6. Payment is then requested for either the puppy or a third party service or associated puppy goods.   Usually, the seller offers to send the puppy directly to you using a paid, third-party courier service.  Alternatively, you may get asked to pay for associated costs in the adoption (crate/petrol/insurance/flight/vets etc).
  7. Usually, scammers request funds via Paypal or a money transfer service like Western Union.  This may be payment in full or simply a part payment as a deposit. Often a phone call offers authenticity to the scene, although they may be out of the country for some reason (usually linked to the story). This explains the dialling code or international ringtone when you ask questions.
  8. After initial payment has been received, the scammer either waits for a few weeks under the pretence of the preparation of shipping etc and then requests the balance in advance often as reimbursement for expenses such as crate or courier, hoping for a second payment.  Or alternatively, the scammers stop all the connections once the deposit is received.