COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is warning people about recent online puppy scams.
Several have reported losing hundreds of dollars after trying to buy a puppy online.
DeWine says the con artists post pictures of cute dogs and request that the buyer wire money for things like the puppy’s shots, a crate, shipping insurance or other transportation fees.
The sellers will usually communicate with the buyers via email, phone or text messages.
The scam isn’t just limited to puppies, though. DeWine says the online advertisements could be for other pets as well, including kittens and parrots.
To avoid falling victim to a pet scam, there are several things to consider before buying an animal:
- Research breeders and sellers carefully – Check for complaints filed with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau, and be wary if you find no information at all.
- Do an online image search of the animal’s photo to see where else it was posted on the internet – Search “how to search by image” to learn how to do this. If the picture appears in multiple places online, it could be a scam.
- Visit the animal in person – Ask the breeder questions, ask to see veterinary paperwork and consider calling the vet, and ask for proof of purchase with all of the breeder’s contact information on it.
- Watch for red flags – Offers that are too good to be true, sellers who require payment via wire transfer or money order, requests for extra costs, unexpected delivery problems requiring extra payment and threats that you’ll be turned in for animal abuse or neglect if you don’t pay.
- Consider adoption from a local animal shelter – You’ll be able to meet and interact with the animal before adopting.
If you suspect a pet scam, report it to the Ohio Attorney General by calling 800-282-0515 or by filing a complaint online. If you suspect animal abuse or neglect, contact the seller’s local animal shelter.