There is a warning out to potential animal buyers that breeders and sellers who advertise online are con artists, according to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office said in 2015 they received about 30 complaints from consumers who said they bought a puppy or other pet online but never received anything in return.
The average reported loss was approximately $1,200, according to DeWine.
“Scammers go online, post cute pictures of a puppy, and get you to feel connected to the dog, even though it’s all a scam,” DeWine said in a statement. “I would encourage anyone to ask to see the dog in person before making any payments.”
According to DeWine, in a typical puppy scam, a consumer finds an ad for a puppy online. The consumer communicates with the seller, agrees to buy the puppy, and eventually wires a few hundred dollars to have the puppy delivered. After paying, however, the consumer never receives the puppy. Instead, the seller demands more money for insurance or transportation costs and threatens to turn in the consumer for animal abuse if the consumer refuses to pay.
DeWine provided some signs of a puppy scam that include:
Offers that are too good to be true, such as paying $650 for a puppy valued at $1,300.
Sellers who require payment via wire transfer or money order.
Extra costs for airline pet insurance or a temperature-controlled crate.