Recognize the Warning Signs

You can avoid puppy scams by understanding how people get scammed and by watching for warning signs.

While the Internet has opened up communication and opportunities like never before, it has also enabled criminals to connect more easily with people who are unaware of their tactics. Scam artists can trick trusting people into sending them money.

Puppy mills can also take advantage of people.

A Typical Puppy Scam Story

A typical scammer story goes something like this:

Jane Doe was searching the Internet for pets and discovered a website that had the type of dog she wanted to buy. While perusing the website, she noticed the dogs were half the price that most other breeders were asking.

Jane thought this was a great deal. She emailed the breeder through the website and got her questions answered. She sent her money through a secure onsite connection. The breeder then explained that the airlines required extra fees for shipping. The dog needed a temperature-controlled crate and the buyer had to pay for shipping insurance. The breeder even sent her a link to another website that was a shipping company, an airline for transporting animals. When all was said and done, Jane had paid about $3,000.

The dog never arrived and she could not recoup her money.

What Are the Puppy Scam Warning Signs?

The International Pet and Animal Transportation Association (IPATA) describes some of the tricks that scammers use:

  • Free pets for sale
  • Discounted pet prices
  • Requesting additional money (for crates, airline fees, shipping insurance, etc.)
  • Use of false or illegal microchips
  • False vaccination papers
  • Fake airlines
  • False IPATA websites
  • Holiday pet scams

If you are worried about the validity of a website with puppies for sale, check the IPATA list of online pet scammers. It lists websites, email addresses and phone numbers of known scammers. There are links that go to lists for 2018 and also for earlier years.

Dog Lovers Must Stick Together

Michelle’s Frenchies is a small hobby breeder, and we became involved in breeding through our love for French bulldogs. We believe that dog owners have a responsibility to stand up for our furry friends and to expose scammers, puppy mills or other criminal activity or inhumane treatment of dogs.