BBB Warns the Community of Puppy Scams this Holiday Season

December 21, 2016

Marlborough, MA - Looking to add a new furry member to your family this year? Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern MA, ME, RI, & VT (BBB) is warning prospective pet owners to be extra cautious of puppy scams this holiday season. Puppy Scams

Every year, puppy scams cost consumers thousands of dollars for a pet that never arrived. Puppy scammers often build websites using stolen photos and content from reputable breeders. They promise to send a puppy to you after money has been wired, but will add on additional fees or disappear completely after you have paid a certain amount of money.

In many situations, scammers will also tell the victims that their pet is stuck at the airport or were put on the wrong flight, resulting in a request for even more money to deliver the pet safely. By the time the victim realizes that no pet is coming, it’s often too late. BBB urges consumers not to pay any money in situations like these because the puppies do not exist.


BBB offers the following tips to avoid a puppy scam this holiday season:

Never wire money. Scammers like to use wire transfers because it works like cash, letting them collect your money before you realize you were scammed. If a breeder pressures you to pay by wire transfer or prepaid debit card, it’s probably a scam.

Always visit the breeder. Legitimate breeders and rescue groups will offer a chance to visit so you can check out the place and the puppies. If the business doesn’t want visitors, then consider that a red flag.

Check the contact information. It’s always a good idea to check the address if you are able to. If not provided, ask for the address so that you can pick up your pet instead of having the breeder ship him or her to you. If the breeder doesn’t give you their address and refuses to let you pick your pet up, then walk away.

Ask for references. Talk to others who have purchased pets from the breeder and the veterinarian the breeder works with.

Search for reliable breeders or rescues. If you’re looking to adopt or buy a pet, check out BBB’s Accredited Business Directory for a list of Accredited Businesses near you to view their BBB Business Profile and Customer Reviews.


If you or someone who know has been affected by a puppy scam, report the scam at

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ABOUT BBB:  For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses and brands they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses, all available for free at 

The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for the local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as home to its national and international programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation. BBB Serving Eastern Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont was founded in 1920.
Paula Fleming is Chief Marketing & Sales Officer for Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern MA, ME, RI & VT.  Find Paula on Google+.