Buyer Beware! How To Identify a Scammer

There is no lack of scammer websites offering puppies for sale and many unsuspecting people end up without the promised puppy and with no recourse to recover the lost money they invested thinking a puppy was forth coming. As a breeder it is easy for me to spot a scammer website – especially when they have copied content from my website, bold enough to use my personal name as well!

So, how can you identify a scammer?

A scammer website typically has a “Puppies For Sale” page with adorable photos of puppies, listing the puppies by name, including gender, age, and price. Quite often a link will be provided for a hopeful buyer to “buy now”.

A scammer typically doesn’t have an application process. For that matter, they really don’t have any process other than send us your money!

A scammer website’s only method of contact is via e-mail. Rarely does a scammer website have a phone number included. The buyers only method of contact is through e-mail. If a phone number is included no-one answers. The calls go to voicemail.

A scammer’s website indicates that the only method of puppy delivery is by airline. They provide a flight #, arrival time, and a reference # that identifies your puppy. They make all the “arrangements” tell you that all you need to do is show up at the airport to receive the puppy. A scammer justifies this method of delivery saying it is the “fastest and safest” way to transport their puppies from their place to yours.

Scammers only accept payment on-line and through payment apps like PayPal and Venmo, insisting that a buyer makes the payment a personal payment. They provide a variety of excuses why making a payment for goods isn’t an acceptable option. Once a payment has been made, aa scammer will often reach out to say there was a problem with the payment and request you resubmit payment or they will refuse to ship the puppy.

Scammers don’t have AKC registration papers available and my convince you that the papers are forth coming. And another indicator of a scammer is the low price of their “pure breed” puppies.

By contrast, a reputable breeder will have a listing of planned breedings, with detailed information about each sire and dam, including full disclosure of health clearances, expected ‘due date’ of the litter, and estimated pick-up date. And that is a minimum of information that should be included.

A reputable breeder will have a process by which a buyer gains information, makes initial contact, and then applies for a puppy. They will not accept a deposit until you have applied and been approved as a buyer.

A reputable breeder will have contact by e-mail available on their website, but they will also have a phone number available for receiving phone calls. You may reach voicemail, but you will get a call back from a real human being.

A reputable breeder will prefer a buyer pick up their puppy in person. There are some reputable breeders that will still ship via airlines or a ground delivery service, but we no longer ship puppies by any method. A reputable breeder may offer to deliver a puppy by airline if you are willing to pay for their flight and time so the puppy is flown in cabin and not in the storage hold of the plane.

A reputable breeder may offer you a variety of payment options, but Venmo and PayPal policies clearly state that payments for live animals isn’t acceptable. We accept personal checks for the initial deposit, once a buyer has been approved, and for final payment we accept cash, money order, or certified check.

A reputable breeder will have AKC papers available the day you take your puppy home. No ifs, ands, or buts. And you can expect to pay a fair price for a well-bred pure breed puppy. If the price is too good to be true you should be very suspicious. For a well-bred Labrador, if you are finding puppies for less than $1800 – $2000 take heed.

A reputable breeder should be available to address your questions and concerns, they should welcome your questions, they should be willing to provide references, (and they should be asking you for references too). Their website should be very transparent and leave no question in your mind if they are reputable.

Do your homework. Determine a breed that you consider a good fit for your home, family, and lifestyle. Research the breed. Understand the genetic testing a breeder should perform on their breeding stock. Look for a professional dog trainer or other canine professional that might be able to steer you in the right direction.

If a ‘breeder’ won’t speak to you by phone, wants personal payment through Venmo, PayPal, or the likes, insists that delivery your puppy via airlines is the ONLY delivery method, won’t answer your questions or gets defensive when you ask detailed questions, don’t just walk away. Run!

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