BBB warns Acadiana to beware puppy scams

  
     
October 09, 2017

If you are looking for a pet to add to your family, Better business Bureau Serving Acadiana warns residents to be on the lookout for scams. As more local consumers turn to the internet to find new pets, more scams are popping up online. Experts say a shocking 80 percent of sponsored advertisements about pets may be fake.

BBB ScamTracker has 907 reports on this type of fraud across North America and a Federal Trade Commission report found some 37,000 complaints involving pets. The vast majority of those were believed to be puppy sale scams.

When you consider that FTC finds that less than 10 percent of victims of fraud actually complain, you can see that the problem is even larger than the numbers indicate.

The BBB International Investigations Initiative conducted an extensive study of online puppy scams. The study looks at the scope of this problem, who is behind it, and the need for law enforcement consumer education to address the issue.

 

The study also has tips for avoiding puppy scams:

  • Don’t buy a pet without seeing it in person. Do an internet search of the picture of the pet you are considering. If the same picture appears on multiple websites, you may be dealing with a fraud. You also can search for text from ads or testimonials to see if the seller copied it from another site.
  • Never pay a stranger with a money order or through Western Union or Moneygram.
  • Always use a credit card in case you need to dispute the charges.
  • Research prices for the breed you are interested in adopting. If someone is advertising a purebred dog for free or at a deeply discounted price, you could be dealing with a fraudulent offer.
  • The Humane Society of the United States refers consumers to local shelters. They also have tips for finding a reputable breeder.
  • Learn about fraud in your area at BBB Scam Tracker bbb.org/scamtracker.

 

 What if you have been a victim of a puppy scam?

  • Complain to the Federal Trade Commission. Call 1-877-FTC-HELP.
  • Homeland Security Investigations at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security also handles international fraud. Call (866) DHS-2-ICE / (866)-347-2423.

 

“Look for the Seal” and Start with Trust®. BBB Serving Acadiana is a private non-profit organization that strives for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses.

Please contact Better Business Bureau at (337) 981-3497 or at bbb.org 24 hours a day for information on businesses throughout North America. Consumers can also sign up for our free BBB “Scoop” eNewsletter by visiting bbb.org and clicking on the “Programs & Services” tab.

BBB Serving Acadiana covers the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.