Better Business Bureau: 2020 Yields Rapid Rise in Puppy Scams

The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau Warns Online Puppy Scams Rising Sharply in 2020

DULUTH, Minn. – The COVID-19 pandemic has increased demand for pets as people seek to add an animal to the family to ease the loneliness and stress of prolonged time at home.

Many feel they now have more time to train a puppy.

However, with this rising demand, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is reporting a spike in pet scams, in which an online search ends with a would-be pet owner paying hundreds of dollars or more to purchase a pet that ultimately doesn’t exist.

The BBB urges caution when shopping online for a pet.

Officials say the median loss reported to Scam Tracker in 2020 is $750. Those aged 35 to 55 account for half of BBB reports in 2020.

Nicole Facciotto is the Humane Education Manager at Animal Allies in Duluth.

She lists the following tips when it comes to avoiding a puppy scam:

  • Ask for updates from the breeder — these should include photos and videos of the new pet
  • Make sure the animal is up-to-date on vaccinations and has a clear medical record
  • Look for breeder reviews online
  • Make sure down payments are made securely and safely
  • Adopt from a local animal shelter instead

Law enforcement and consumer advocates now say a person searching online for a new pet is extremely likely to encounter a scam listing or website.

Click here to report a pet scam.


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