BBB warns of puppy scams spreading across nation - WNEM TV 5

BBB warns of puppy scams spreading across nation

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If you're in the market for a new puppy, you might want to think twice before responding to online ads.

The Better Business Bureau said puppy scams are spreading in West Michigan and across the nation. The Federal Trade Commission has 37,000 complaints about pet scams.

Consumer advocates said 80 percent of sponsored online advertisements about pets may be fake.

Scammers are setting up fake websites and Craigslist ads for certain breeds. The consumer then sees a few pictures and they’re told to wire money to the seller. The scammer then makes off with your money and you don't get the puppy.

“These puppies are typically pure bred and they claim to be high quality and with that comes a high price tag,” said John Masterson with the Better Business Bureau, based in Grand Rapids. “So, it could be thousands of dollars for any type of puppy."

The Better Business Bureau of West Michigan recommends three things.

  1. Do not wire money to people you don’t personally know.
  2. Make sure you see the puppy before handing over any money.
  3. Try finding a puppy at your local humane society.

Local shelters said learning about the pet's medical history is also important and that's something you typically can't get online.

 “For us, if you adopt from us, we send you home with a medical history which provides heartworm tests, vaccination records, rabies certificates. You can bring that to your veterinarian. If you go from Craigslist, who knows what you're going to get?" said Katie Timber with the S.P.C.A. of SW Michigan.

The BBB also found the most fake ads were for French bulldogs. 

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