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Puppy Scams, Don't Let It Be You!

Always consider finding your Perfect Puppy Match In Person at Petland Summerville. Our mission is to make a difference in people's lives by matching the puppies' needs with the owner's lifestyle. We provide a safe, clean, and informative environment to find the perfect match that can't be found online.


Fraud in the sale of online pets is on the rise, with scammers victimizing American consumers at an alarming rate. In recent years, Americans have filed thousands of complaints with law enforcement, consumer organizations, and online websites. And while the victims' ages run the gamut, from the very young to senior citizens, studies have shown that an unusually high number of those targeted in the schemes are in their late teens or 20s.

The scheme usually depends on bogus, often sophisticated, advertisements to hook unsuspecting consumers. Incredibly, experts believe at least 80% of the sponsored advertising links that appear in an internet search for pets may be fraudulent.


Searching for a pet online without coming across a bogus website can be difficult.

This scheme appears predominantly centered in Cameroon in West Africa and is the subject of law enforcement and media reports across the U.S. and Canada. Several recent arrests demonstrate that thieves are using Cameroonians residing in the U.S. to collect money from victims through Western Union and MoneyGram outlets.

It is not difficult to understand why the scheme is so pervasive in the U.S. – and so successful. Puppy ownership is prevalent, and the selection and purchase of a pet are viewed as the first step toward bringing a new, beloved member into the family. Pets offer companionship and comfort, and a new puppy or kitten can quickly become a center point in the life of its owner.

In the current digital age, it is no surprise that the first step in many people’s search for a new pet begins with the internet. Alas, even the most careful online examination will likely put a consumer in contact with a potential thief.

Reports show there are thousands of people around the country, and the world, who have become victims of pet scams. Many of these typically begin with a fake website and stolen photos, often taken from a legitimate site.

Greedy “sellers” rarely are satisfied with stealing a few hundred dollars from their victims. Most will demand additional payments until the buyer becomes suspicious or runs out of funds.

Simply put, many pets marketed online do not exist – at least not as advertised. In virtually all cases, the scammers never own the animals described on the sites.