Puppy Scams ‘Skyrocketing’ In Pandemic, How Do I Sniff Out A Scam?


No one can argue that a pandemic has been a struggle for everyone. Not only were we suffering from self isolation but also from loneliness. That loneliness fueled a surge of interest in welcoming a puppy into your home.

But the saddest part was, some people got scammed when they were trying to buy a cute puppy to love. It didn’t happen to only 10 or 50 people, there were hundreds of victims that were scammed. 

We received many shares from people in our golden retriever Facebook group about the scammers


Puppy scammers are the real deal! 

During the pandemic, the puppy scams statistic cases almost tripled the previous year with around $3.2 million losses

So many people become victims and lose hundreds, even thousands of dollars because of the scammers. Don’t let yourself or someone you love become a victim as well.

Here are some steps to sniff out and track down a scammer

How do you sniff out a pet scammer?


There are many ways to notice if the seller or breeder is legit or a scammer. as long as you want to spend your time more digging the information about the seller. And here are what you need to check when you find someone selling a puppy online.

Check the website

When you find an interesting website selling a puppy you can check on whois. It’s a domain lookup that allows you to trace the ownership and tenure of a domain name. The scammers will often pay for privacy here so this won’t be transparent. This can be red flag number one.

 You can also shut down a puppy scammer’s website by emailing the registrar.

Check social media

Most scammers will use a fake social media profile since they don’t want anyone to notice. But it’s easy to know if the profile is fake since fake profiles have similarities, such as: 

  • No detailed information about them on their profile
  • Never post a status, image or video or only upload similar post over and over
  • Just recently joined social media but have lots of friends all over the world or joined hundreds of groups. 
  • You can find their image profile easily on google 

Search on google

You can easily search for “ their name/business” scam review on google. Hopefully, someone else has shared about the scammer’s profile or business. That way you can get a fast and easy heads up. 

But the problem sometimes is the scammer is using a new identity or creating a new fake profile and business name. 

You won’t find any review yet on google, since it’s new and no one has reviewed it yet. 

You can also check the image of the puppy they sell on google since most scammers took the cute puppy images from google. To do this, right click on the image and click “search on google”


“ Too good to be true “ offer

Most scammers will post a fantastic offer for the puppy on their website or social media. The purpose is to grab your attention with a lower than average price. 

The scammers sometimes offer you a free puppy, and you only pay for the shipping. 

The scammer will create a fake story behind why they are selling their puppy, to make their offer seem reasonable. Often disguised as “rehoming”.

Sketchy payment method

The other sign about the scammer is the sketchy and unsecured payment methods such as wiring money or gift cards. A scammer doesn’t want you to pay by Paypal or credit card for the payment since you can ask for a reverse transaction or chargeback when you feel you are being scammed. 

You can also use escrow to pay since escrow will request for both of the parties (buyer and seller) confirmation before shipping the pet. 


Due to the high demand for puppies during the pandemic, it’s become a golden time for pet scammers.  With purchasing a puppy online, it’s impossible to check directly and see with your eyes for the puppy. 

You need to be aware that it might happen to you or someone you know, that’s why educating yourself about how to know if a puppy is legit is the key. 
When you are in contact with a puppy seller, you need to know what question you have to ask the breeder so you can determine if he/she is a legit breeder or scammer.

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