A new dog…and scammers’ old tricks

cute puppyLots of people feel the urge to cuddle and care for a puppy – especially one that doesn’t have a home and needs all the TLC an animal lover can give. But if you see an online ad for a dog, or any pet, be warned: that pooch’s pic may just be a trick to steal your money.

Scam artists have bilked animal lovers by posting ads with pictures of puppies and other pets. The ads often include a compelling story about why the puppy is available, and details about his or her lovable personality. The ads may request a reasonable payment for the pet, say $300, or they may claim the pet is available to a good home for free – if you pay for shipping.

If you pay, you’ll get additional requests for money for things like vet bills, crating, shipping, or inspection costs. But when it’s all said and spent, Lassie never comes home – because she wasn’t really for sale in the first place.

Here are a few tips to keep you from getting dogged by scammers selling phantom pets:

  • Don’t use a money transfer service. The surest sign of a scam is when someone insists you use a money transfer service – like Western Union or MoneyGram – as the only form of payment for a pet. Money transfers are like sending cash; once you send it, you can’t get it back. Cash reload packs – like GreenDot MoneyPak, Vanilla Reload or Reloadit – come with the same risks. 
  • Do your research. Ask for detailed information about the person selling the pet. What is the person’s full name, phone number and mailing address? What turns up if you search online for the seller’s name or phone number with the word “scam” or “complaint”?
  • Try doing a reverse image search of the photo to see if it appears in older ads. To do this, right click on the photo and select “copy image location,” “copy image address,” or go to “properties” to copy the image’s location on the internet. Paste the link into a search engine and select the option that allows you to search by image. If the same picture shows up in an older listing, it’s probably a scam. Sometimes, the photos are from social media sites or old listings; the scammer simply re-posts them with a new, bogus online classified ad. But keep in mind: even if you don’t find anything wrong it doesn’t mean that everything’s alright.
  • Consider adoption from a local animal shelter. Pets of all types are in shelters across the U.S. waiting for loving homes. Many can be adopted for a small fee.

If a pretending pooch peddler pilfers money from your pockets, file a complaint with the FTC. If you transferred money for to a scammer for a pet that never appeared, let the money transfer company know, too.

Tagged with: online fraud, scam, shopping
Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


I can't believe people still fall for these things.

Beware of online fraud.


S C U M B A G S ! ! !

Thanks. My son is going to be looking for a dog on line somewhere. Your article has been very helpful.

These Scammers are using company names that do exist...however.,keep in mind these same Companies NEVER call you or ask for money. Puppies? Well they are getting more clever....BEWARE!!!!

Think i got,scam from amazon. Lady said she had a pup for 300 plus a refundable 85 for insurance and ive been emailing her and nothing. I looked up the sellers address and it middle of the road. Im a 23 year old mother that just tried to give my kids a dog because weve been,thriugh so much smh. This is so sick that they do this.

To Janecita - I hope you will convince your son to adopt from a local animal shelter. Anytime you see these ads if they're real they come from unscrupulous breeders and still live a short horrible life. in the shelters have all been checked by vets and given all their shots. And you can rescue one and feel great!

Why is the government not regulating MoneyGram to prevent thieves from using their services to steal from people. the thieves use it because they can get away with it. It's time for Law Enforcement to step in close MoneyGram till they start protecting their customers.

Robbed -- Please explain how "the government" would regulate MoneyGram or other money transfer services. Maybe by telling people not to use them? Requiring clerks to interrogate them about where the money is going and then make a judgment about whether to allow it? And no, "the government" doesn't have a list of all scammers. They change their names and other information all the time. "The government" can't regulate stupidity.

I am wondering what to do with some texts that are the first step toward an attempt to scam me. I had some puppies to sell on Craigslist, and some of the texts I have received are about sending me a check for some lame reason or another so the pup can be picked up and sent to somewhere or another. Different stories, same MO. Is there someplace I can report these? Or do I have to actually lose money first?

You can file a consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.ftc.gov/complaint. The online complaint system will prompt you to answer a few questions and at the end, you will have an opportunity to express in your own words what happened. You can copy and paste the text message there in that notes section. Thanks.

These people use very professional website and everything seems legit till you make your payment! Then all the red flags pop up and you are screwed. Then all you get are texts from the so-called company that won't answer phone calls in 3 diffrent states. And all have strange recordings asking for your name! Even from the "seller".

mach have how many dog

My fiance and U were scammed out of $4000! I had never heard of puppy scams until it was too late!!

Recently my husband and I were victims of a puppy scam...I thought I had done my research until the day the puppy was to be delivered. I received a text from the shipper requesting more money $799.00 for travel insurance. I refused and told him to get it from the breeder. I tried contacting the breeder and NO response. The shipper again texted me and said if I don't sent the money ASAP he would take the puppy to the pound and he would not be responsible for what happens to him. I told just return the puppy to the breeder and he said, you owned the puppy so pay the money and I will ship her...Long story short I told him I would be calling the States Atty, local authories and anyone else. The shipper texted back and said, don't do nothing let me get back to you. I have heard nothing this happened on Sunday, October 4. I am out my money and it is very disappointing because I thought these were deceit people and there website is so, so professional. Never again, if I can't touch, feel the puppy I don't buy it. Hopefully they catch this group.

This just happened to me....was it a golden doodle that you were getting?

I just fell for something like this. Now were out avout $600. This is real people. I did some research and this lady has been doing this for months. Her name is alicia walker she is from spokane washington her number is 253-256-2354 i found an ad for a teacup yorkie puppy she said it was free that i had to pay $350 for shipping and then another $200 for the crate and insurance... We really need to stop these people

Just like CBrumley above my family found some teacup yorkie puppies on . We texted the 253-256-5324 number and they sent an email. Here is one of the pictures that was sent with the email
The email address was AliciaWalker I noticed right away that this is a complete scam. Do not fall for this!

Thanks for posting this. We were contacting Alicia Walker about toy poodle puppies. Thanks for the warning.

I just texted the same person, it is definitely a scam..

I fell for this website advertising cute maltese puppies. I wanted one so badly that I paid the initial $250. Then they asked me for a whopping $680 for INSURANCE. I knew then that I was being taken. Now they are threatening me with abandoning a puppy. The website is amazingmaltesepups They should be shut down.

Ive been looking at English Bulldogs.And today I have had 2 different people claim they have puppies for sale. One man claims to be a Morgan Willaims and he could have the dog delivered to me. When I said I would drive 3 hours to pic up, he said he would discuss it with the family. He's moving to Ontario to work at Sams Club. I know I wont here from him. The other claims to have 4 pups his name was James Scott. It advertised pups in my town but when we communicated he now claims his mother died in Utah and they were her pups. they were basically giving them away but $500. would cover cost of delivery of a pup. Please. Ive bought 2 dogs years ago online.Legit people have a whole sight about their dogs and available litters. You receive documentation on the dogs before purchase. Use PayPal for the purchase. and documents for the airlines with flight numbers and time flight comes in. Ive had 3 dogs that have flown to their new homes.Check with airlines as to cost of flying an animal with a certified crate. Good luck to people trying to buy online today.

I just lost 550 for a yorkie cuz I wouldn't pay 970 for insurance to be shipped to me . watch out for johnson from Maryland not worth those cute puppies he doesn't have

Just got off at text a few minutes ago where I soon realized something was wrong. Offering pedigree Shih Tzu puppies for only the cost of the shipping. Fell hook line and sinker for the scam until I got to thinking. I asked for a picture of the puppies with a piece of paper with my name written on it. Made them so mad. Ranting about how he was a Christian "Personlity" and all I needed was to trust him. I replied that as a sister in Christ I just needed a little reassurance. He replied that he had just dropped them off at the shipper 2 days ago and is waiting for my shipping info. Funny, I only spoke with him one day ago. WATCH OUT FOR WILLIAM SANDERS phone number 573-492-2650. I will continue to do whatever I can to get this name and number out so he takes no one else.

What was the name of the place you were buying and shipping the puppy? I am interested in one and don't want to be scammed. Thank you & God Bless. Jan

Another way to weed out scanners is to tell them you want to come to them to pick up your puppy and will pay then..most likely if it's a scammer, you'll never hear from them again.

Contacted me. Wanted shipping costs, through Amazon gift card for $150.00. Dounded suspicious, i said no...don't trust you. I get a text using the F word.

Wow, wish I had seen all this before now, I sent the 580.00 fir the yorkie, now they are holding the pup for ransome, they want me to sent 995.00 to the Shipping co. In Nevada by Dec. 3rd 2016 or else. OMG, are these human beings or what ????

I had a similar problem looking for a Persian cat online. The cat was supposedly free, but $300 for shipping. The site said they were in South Carolina but the phone number was in Maryland and the supposed breeder was in Dallas Texas. The photos looked too professional to be real. I'm glad I decided it was a scam. I did get a Himalayan from a local rescue group. If something about the ad sounds/looks suspicious, RUN THE OTHER WAY! The communication with this person was in odd-sounding English - another sign that something was wrong. Trust your instinct rather than fall in love with a `cyber pet'.

Yep, been scammed and am now very critical of all of them.

Has anyone had this issue in Washington State with a breeder who operates on Facebook and breeds mini dachshunds? My husband and I gave 2 large down payments but now that we are supposed to pick up the puppies tomorrow we cannot get a hold of her. The company name switched from Happy Paws Dachshunds to Seadachs Dachshunds and her name is Jamie Wing. We're getting concerned that she may be scamming us.

We were in contact with a website allstarchihuahuas. com and ready to send the money. The lady at the money gram store asked us questions and we contacted the seller again. They would only take Money Gram or Western Union not Paypal or any credit card. At that point we told them we wouldn't be buying the puppy unless we could pay by credit card and they said they were having a problem with the system. I told them I would pay when they got it worked out. They had no timeline on. I went home and googled "dog breeders that only take Money gram" this is the site that came up. I did a backward search on the photo of the dog and testimonial person. They had more than one website selling the same dog same picture last year. The 2 sites I found are allstarchihuahuas. com and greenhillchuhuahuas. com this is a scam for sure. The name of the person I was to send the money to is Jamie Milles from Huston Texas. The other picture of the testimonial was stolen from a site in Canada.

Before purchasing a yorkie puppy i asked for pictures and videos. I was sent pictures but i didn't like them because they were too fancy, the puppy was always dressed up. Ii asked for additional pictures but this time with my name next to the puppy and they took a video instead. so i got to see the puppy running around and my name written on a piece of paper as requested. However something still doesn't feel right because the people i spoke with have an accent that I can just barely understand. I guess my question is do I have a reason to be extra nervous in expecting my new puppy tomorrow morning ?

Has anyone heard of All Star Chihuahuas out if Houston Texas. The name she had to send the money gram to was Jamie Milles. We didn't send it after all but it sure sound like a scam. The lady at the money gram warned us against it.

allstarchihuahuas. com is a SCAM! They have no address listed on their website and although they want to talk alot about themselves and show pics of themselves with their dogs, and they seem to be sweet ladies as the breeders......they dont ever state any of their names. They only accept western union and other types of "wire transfer"(i.e. quick money) and I happen to know that a dog like the one I saw on their site would not be sold as cheap as the offer. One last thing that seemed absolutely crazy, they advertised that they will ship WORLD WIDE and the fee is a flat $250, no matter where they are shipping and to top it off they have "coupons for free flight right now for dog". I mean really?? It's too bad some people really fall for this stuff. The phone number they listed that they text me back on was 512-361-6727 BEWARE

I almost fell for the scam from "Cute Dachshund Home" in Silver Springs, MD. They wanted $500 up front but couldn't prove that the had the dog. Their phone number is (240) 257-3754. A Caucasian woman has a voice mail on that number, but a Somali man does the selling. They have a fake website called www.cutedachshundhome

Sweet Teacup Yorkie, Pomeranian and Maltese puppies for free adoption. This is on FB and I will try to post some of his comments. Tells me he is a honest Christian and all I pay for this yorkshire teacup pup is 175.00 shipping. The fee is 175$ and I don't have a PayPal, he tells me. Now he tells me more that gets me wondering But I can assure you as a God fearing Christian and law abiding citizen of this great nation that you will receive the puppy at your doorstep once you send the money so that I'll use the money to get the puppy delivered to you at your doorstep, okay?
Scam Scam Scam
Then he becomes Super Puppy Deliverer, he says If you can send the 175$ before 2 pm, then the puppy will get to you before the end of today, okay?
He is getting desperate now. I have to get them new homes because my wife is due for March 20th and we won't have much attention for the puppies.
So we have to get new homes for them where they will be loved and spoiled.
So since I won't be able to pay much attention to the puppy, my wife and I decided to get new homes for them.
So I assure you as a God fearing Christian and law abiding citizen of this great nation that you will receive the puppy if you can trust me and send me the money for the shipping, okay? I wish i could assure you more. He assured me he is a scammer. No more online pup search. People are really are frightening sometimes. BEWARE.

I almost fell for it until the lady at Western Union stopped me

I was sending $600 for a dachshund she said she was her next to me then the next hing was her daughter in Texas was in a fatal car accident an she was in a coma so we couldn't meet up so she was going to send him thru a agency "pet courier" so when I went to send the cash at Western Union the lady stopped me right away said it was a scam he said to send monthly pictures of the baby just mind blown my kids almost lost our be careful here are some numbers 1240-4732270 an 1385-240-5053 I also found a picture of the person on Google Oklahoma city police dog scam

Has anyone dealt with Steven Norman in Hinesville Georgia about purchasing a Yorkie. He wants me to use money gram and I'm scared of a scam! Any assistance would be great!

We, unfortunately didn't look up "scammers" on the web before just falling for this scam for a Labrador from San Antonio, Texas. Another, "Christian" person selling Labs & Golden Retrievers. They were selling them for a fair price and free shipping. Sent the money and then came the terribly fake letter asking for that same thing...insurance. Now they don't respond either.
RETRIEVER HUNTERS is the name, do not do business with them!!

Do you have the name and email address of these people? My daughter is "waiting" for a puppy from them...

SCAM: pattypomeranianhome. com, and other name is pattymicropoms. com. Also their so called shipping company, Continental Prime Logistics Pet delivery is a scam. We got scammed! We were stupid and not familiar with the scammer signs. Required western union and yes, shipping company tried to get 1895.00 more out of us for a climate control crate. When we refused to pay, they threatened us with having us arrested for animal cruelty and neglect! Ya right!! After a few choice words to all involved, we never heard from them again. The seller goes by the name of, at least this time, Douglas Renetta out of fairfax virginia. Phone number, 614-922-8945 and shipping number is 804-592-0149 . Now that I know how to check phone numbers, they come up with non fixed voip. Those are burner phones. When you purchase a burner phone, you can pick your own number, even if you are outside the USA, you can pick any number in the states you want.

i am tyring to get this puppy and they are telling me that i need to pay for shipping and i dont feel good about his what should i do

dachshund-pups. com /our exhibition This is another major breeder scam! I've been looking into them for about a day now and I've found some sketchy things. They are ripping off Paradise Dachshunds and if you go to paradises website and go to available puppies they'll Ben tell you about the scam. Their website looks very legit but the whole thing is a lie. Paradise told me when I contacted them that one woman payed 600 for a pup and it never came. And then the scammers asked for an additional 1300 for shipping, even though they told her there would be no shipping. DO NOT FALL FOR THESE PEOPLE. CATHY S DACHSHUND IS A SCAM!

Is this a for sure scammer?

There is a person on Craigslist selling Maltese puppy's two of the from PA they said there son had cancer and had died they r scammers please be careful there email is freebenet it's a scam

My husband and I were scammed. We thought we were helping a rescued dog and sent 500 then the shippers wanted us to pay for a special carrier. It would be refunded and we electronically signed documents. Then this morning we were asked for more money before it finally dawned on us. Christineborrows           was the seller. The shippers were supposed to be from IATA which is a reputable company but things started falling into place when I started looking further. Don't buy puppies online!!!

I got scammed for a Teacup Yorkie. Don't buy any puppies from Mini T-Cup Yorkie Puppies ( minit-cupyorkie. us/puppies.    SCAM ALERT!

My husband and I have a Yorkie and decided to purchase another. Stay far, far away from Cachorros Yorkshire Terriers and Fly Pets Express. Their websites are professional, they give you a tracking number and everything. Two hours before my pup and crate rental deposit were to be returned I got an email from a fake government site in Kentucky (I lived there a long time). Not only doesn't the agency not exist but they claimed the puppy had to have vaccines and I needed to send $700 plus a $200 insulin shot to regulate metabolism and $200 boarding fee. Having already had two small puppies I know you would never give a puppy that age insulin nor do vaccines cost too much. I told them I was reporting them to the Ohio Attorney General's Office for consumer affairs. I got yet another fake email from a badly spelled site with a gmail address claiming to be a representative of the agency at 1:30 AM. I am heartbroken but plan to bug these people until I get a refund for a puppy that never existed.

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