How To Avoid Puppy Scammers Online
It's a bigger problem then most people realize! These puppy scammers are very thorough and convincing and have stolen thousands of dollars from people that think "It could never happen to me", but it does, every day.
Puppy scammers often send pictures from only one day of a puppy's life and the other pictures are of other puppies in various stages of growth. Look carefully, is it the same puppy in each photo?
When puppy scammers steal videos with breeder's text over the top they use text with blackout boxes behind their text to cover the breeders text. They may or may not change the audio in the video. Request to schedule a LIVE Facetime video or zoom call with the litter. Real breeders won't mind accommodating this request.
Puppy scammer's names or information often can't be found elsewhere on the internet. Google their full name in parenthesis followed by the breed name. Are there AKC show results? A registered business? A 10 year old Facebook account where puppy owners you could contact have shared pictures of their puppies from the breeder? In our case we send our phone number and address with a puppy contract BEFORE we ask for money. This way you can google our address, see that my name is also connected to my horsemanship school and that my face matches across all platforms. Do your homework.
MOST RESPONSIBLE BREEDERS HAVE WAITLISTS and it doesn't cost much to join. Ours is $100 to join the waitlist, and we won't ask you for more until after your puppy is born. We rarely have puppies immediately available. Be wary of breeders that have readily available puppies often, they could be a scam! Or an irresponsible breeder.
Usually the scammer will not give you the option to mail a check. It is often an electronic payment and if you're lucky the email address will be fishy enough to tip you off (a bunch of numbers and letters, an email not connected to any website or other contact info online)
Lastly if you've been a victim of a puppy scam you can report it to IC3.gov at the time of this writing most of this scamming happens through Facebook groups, Facebook, and Instagram. You can also report them on these platforms though it seems to do little good at times as we have reported groups repeatedly that continue to scam people. We did contact our local police about the issue and they provided us with a packet of what to do the most helpful thing being where to actually report the crime (linked above)
Be safe my friends, and don't let your emotions run away with a stolen picture of someone else's puppy.