RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) — 37,000 people a year fall victim to international puppy scams, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
They include people paying as much as $1,000 for dogs they’ll never see.
The BBB in Virginia is even alerting people to two online sites: MaltesePuppiesHeaven.com and HomeTrainedPugpups.com. One is registered to a person in Johannesburg, South Africa. The BBB says the Maltese Puppies Heaven website uses information and images from other legitimate dog breeder sites. The sites are both currently active, but both should be avoided.
Just googling puppies for sale is a bad idea, if you don’t check up on the companies trying to make the sale.
Barry Moore, the CEO and President of the Better Business Bureau of Central Virginia, says just because a company is listed on Google doesn’t mean it’s reputable. Google is just a search engine that returns information based on the keywords you searched – you have to do research on the results you get.
“Some of these businesses are very legitimate, but many of them are not, and if they start asking for too much personal information upfront and they ask for deposits and then fees and so forth, this is a bogus company and it’s probably a scam. You’ll never see the dog,” added Moore.
Barry says never pay upfront. Make sure you meet the puppies in person and meet the person who is selling before ever transferring any money.
You can also always log onto the BBB Scam Tracker on their website. It tells you about scams going around now, and you’ll notice puppy scams are everywhere. Be careful before you pay money.
Alternatively, instead of looking to buy certain kinds of puppies, there are always pets in need of forever homes at your local animal shelters. This month, Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center is waiving all adoption fees in exchange for pet food.