Pet Scams

WHERE IS MY PUPPY?

Like many animal transportation companies across the country, we occasionally receive an anxious phone call from a pet lover asking, “Where is my puppy?” Unfortunately for the caller, the puppy doesn’t even exist and the caller is the latest victim of an Internet scam. Pet scams seem to be everywhere on the Internet. Scams are a crime and often these scammers use the Dogtainers name or logo in their pet schemes, as well as steal portions of  funny-dog-photo-dogs-with-doll,1280x960,696our website to set up these scams and make them look more legitimate.

Always remember, buyer beware!  If if sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Puppies are being offered for sale  and  they are offered at below breeder rates to entice you,  the buyer. These puppies don’t even exist!

HOW DO I KNOW THAT IT IS A SCAM?

Here are some dead giveaways:

OFTEN THE SCAMMER OFFERS:

  • Ship within 24 hours of payment (which is impossible due to the time required to obtain import license and veterinary health certificates)
  • Ship from an international location to your doorstep for $250 or $350 (generally it costs more to ship a puppy internationally than it does for your plane ticket between two international locations plus you would need to purchase a travel kennel.  You can NEVER expect to pay only $250-$350 for an international shipment.)

MORE CLUES THAT YOU ARE DEALING WITH A SCAM

  • The scammers will tell you is the pet is being transported by a specific company who also may or may not exist. If the company does exist, they may not even be aware that their company is listed as the shipping company.
  • The scammers will request that the you complete the payment for the puppy via Western Union or other type of transaction that will not allow you to get any money back.
  • You, the unsuspecting buyer, calls the animal transportation company to find out when your puppy will arrive. The company has never heard of the seller/breeder who sold the puppy and has no connection to them.
  • Do not be misled by those who claim to be charitable or religious organizations, pastors or sisters who will give you a puppy if you’ll just pay for the shipping and handling.
  • The scammers will create fraudulent websites, blatantly copied from legitimate websites, irrespective of any copyrights or trademark protection.
  • These scams may also come as ads being put in local papers and from legitimate websites, so it appears that you are buying a puppy (or a bird) locally.
  • You may be given booking information confirming that your new puppy is being shipped on ABC airline. The booking information may be fraudulent and, even if it’s authentic, a “booking” doesn’t necessarily mean that they are actually shipping a puppy. Often the airline in question doesn’t even fly to that country!
  • Buyers wanting to send a cashier’s check for more money than is required so you can make a payment to their shipping agent for transport of the pet. You deposit the cashier’s check and send the overpayment to the shipping agent only to find out from your bank later that the cashier’s check was bogus and you are held liable for repayment of the full amount.
  • Puppies from Cameroon or Nigeria (or other countries) who are supposedly already being shipped to the new owner who then gets an email saying that the veterinary officials in a third country need additional money before the puppy can continue being shipped. This does not happen in the real world. A veterinary official in a country that the pet is being shipped through does NOT confiscate a shipment and hold it until money is paid.
  • Many of the scams involve the toy breeds, usually requires that money be sent urgently by Western Union to avoid euthanasia of the pet, and often the pets are located in Nigeria, Cameroon or Benin though we are seeing more and more scams surfacing in what used to be considered fairly “safe” countries (i.e., the U.K., USA, etc.)
  • Often the scam appears to come from members of the clergy or relief / rescue workers are offering a pet because they can’t keep it, begging for a good home before the puppy is euthanized.

DOGTAINERS RECOMMENDS THAT IF YOU SUSPECT A SCAM, OR THAT YOU ARE THE VICTIM OF A SCAM, CONSULT THESE WEBSITES FOR INFORMATION:

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA):