A Florida’s sheriff’s office is warning residents about puppy scams. “It is a shame that hustlers will take advantage of people looking for companionship,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of Great Florida Insurance, Florida’s largest independent homeowners insurance agency.
The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office said they have received dozens of complaints about puppy scams throughout the county. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) reports a dramatic rise in puppy scams since the beginning of the pandemic. Pet scams are up nearly five times as they were in 2017.
In several, recent cases victims have responded to ads on Craigslist or social media platforms. Once those interested put down a deposit or pay for the pet, the seller disappears.
Additionally, some reported cases include fraudulent American Kennel Club (AKC) paperwork where the seller falsely claimed the puppies were AKC certified. Be sure to check the AKC website for certifications.
Make sure your puppy buying experience is both enjoyable and safe. The AKC has red flags to look for when purchasing a pet.
- No phone calls- Communication is done strictly through email.
- Copycat or stock photos- Photos of the dog are found on multiple websites.
- Sketchy payment- The seller asks for a money wire or payment via gift cards. Paying by credit card or Paypal are your safest options.
- Price is too good to be true- Research the prices for the breed you are considering a head of time.
If you are interested in adopting a pet, be sure to use a reputable organization or person. Check out your local humane society as well.