Puppy scams soar amid COVID-19 pandemic

Puppy scams soar amid COVID-19 pandemic

Planning to buy a four-legged friend this year? Puppy scams have become commonplace since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, so be sure to avoid these red flags when looking for a reputable breeder!

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, pet and puppy sales have soared. But with this spike in sales, puppy scams have become a rampant problem that have cost Canadians more than $105,000 since January 2020, according to the Better Business Bureau.

Puppy buyers beware

Mary O’Sullivan-Anderson, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau for southern Alberta and British Columbia’s East Kootenay region, advises those looking to adopt a puppy to be very careful before paying a puppy seller online. “Ask for references from other satisfied customers, set up a live video call to meet the breeder and the puppy, and ask for detailed information about the dog and its health,” she says.

Look for these red flags

If you’re planning to purchase a four-legged friend this year, watch out for these red flags to avoid puppy scams:

  • Breeders that advertise on Facebook but don’t have a permanent website
  • Puppies that are registered as “purebred” but don’t have registration papers – In Canada, a purebred dog must be registered by the breeder with the Canadian Kennel Club and have the appropriate certification.
  • Breeders that ask for payment upfront before you’ve seen the litter in person (or at least over video chat)
  • Breeders that ask for payment via non-traceable payment methods such as Bitcoin or gift cards.