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How To Avoid Falling Victim To Puppy Adoption Scams

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    Adopting a puppy is an exciting journey that brings joy and companionship to many families. However, amidst the thrill of finding your new furry friend, it’s essential to be vigilant against potential scams that could tarnish this experience. Puppy adoption scams are unfortunately common, designed to deceive and exploit well-meaning adopters. Here’s how you can navigate this process safely and ensure a positive adoption experience:

    The Escalation of Puppy Adoption Scams Online

    According to 2023 BBB data, nearly 10,000 scam reports and complaints have come in during the previous 3 years about “businesses” selling puppies and dogs. The internet has facilitated these scams, enabling unethical breeders and scammers to easily victimize unsuspecting buyers with offers of nonexistent or poorly bred puppies. See the AKC article about Puppy Scams.

    Recognizing and avoiding these scams begins with understanding how they operate. In this article, we aim to equip you with the knowledge to steer clear of puppy adoption scams and puppy mills.

    Puppy adoption scams are on the rise. Learn how to protect yourself and have an amazing puppy adoption experience!

    How Do They Work?
    Identifying Puppy Adoption Scams

    #1 - Fake Websites And Listings:

    Scammers create convincing websites or listings using stolen photos and information from legitimate breeders. They may even fabricate testimonials to build trust. Always verify the authenticity of the website and listings, and be cautious if the deal seems too good to be true.

    #2 - Unusually Low Prices:

    If the price of a puppy is significantly lower than the average market rate, it’s a red flag. Scammers often lure potential adopters with attractive prices, only to disappear after receiving payment. Research the typical cost of the breed to avoid falling victim to this tactic.

    #3 - Payment Via Untraceable Methods:

    Scammers often ask for payment through untraceable methods such as wire transfers, gift cards, or money transfer apps. Legitimate breeders usually accept payments through secure and traceable methods like credit cards or PayPal.

    #4 - No In-Person Meetings:

    Legitimate breeders and adoption agencies typically allow potential adopters to meet the puppy in person or at least arrange a video call. Scammers will avoid any direct contact and may provide excuses to prevent meetings. Insist on seeing the puppy before making any payments.

    #5 - Excessive Shipping Fees:

    Scammers may promise to ship the puppy to you but then demand exorbitant shipping fees, often requesting additional payments for “unexpected” issues like insurance or customs. Always be wary of breeders who push for shipping without a proper meeting.

    #6 - Lack of Documentation:

    Reputable breeders provide necessary documentation, including health records, vaccination details, and pedigree information. Scammers often fail to provide any legitimate documentation or offer forged papers. Ensure you receive and verify all required documents before finalizing the adoption.

    #7 - Puppy Mills:

    Some sellers operate puppy mills where dogs are bred in poor conditions. These puppies often have health issues and behavioral problems. Always research the breeder’s reputation, ask for references, and visit the breeding facility if possible to ensure the puppies are raised in a healthy environment. Discover what our customers are saying about us in our Google Reviews.

    #8 - Emotional Manipulation:

    Scammers may use emotional stories to pressure you into making a quick decision, such as claiming the puppy needs a home urgently due to a tragic situation. Be cautious of high-pressure tactics and take your time to verify the breeder and the puppy’s condition.

    #9 - Stolen Photos:

    Scammers frequently use photos stolen from existing breeders’ websites. Use reverse image search tools to check if the photos appear elsewhere on the internet. This can help you identify if the images have been taken from other sources.

    #10 - Unclear or No Contracts:

    Reputable breeders will provide a clear, detailed contract outlining the terms of the adoption. Scammers often avoid written agreements or provide vague contracts. Always insist on a thorough contract and review it carefully before proceeding.

    7 Tips to Protect Yourself From Scammers & Puppy Mills

    1. Thorough Research: Investigate the breeder or adoption agency thoroughly. Check online reviews, contact breed clubs for recommendations, and seek advice from trusted sources.

    2. Meet The Breeder or Seller: Always ask to talk on the phone or video chat, and meet in person whenever possible.

    3. Ask Detailed Questions: Don’t hesitate to ask the breeder about the puppy’s background, health history, and breeding practices. Responsible breeders and sellers love to educate potential owners about their dogs. Ask anything and everything about the breed, the breeder, and the available puppies.

    4. Request Proof: Responsible breeders will be happy to share information about the puppy’s parents and provide proof of health records and screenings. Ensure the puppy has been seen by a licensed veterinarian and know its shot schedule. This information is crucial for your puppy’s continued health.

    5. Trust Your Instincts: If something feels off or if the breeder avoids answering questions or meeting in person, trust your instincts and consider it a warning sign.

    6. Be Patient: If the seller seems anxious to complete the sale or get your deposit quickly, or if you feel pressured to make a quick decision, be cautious. Such behavior often indicates a scammer, and there may be no puppy at all.

    7. Report Suspicious Activity: If you suspect a scam or encounter fraudulent behavior, report it to local authorities, consumer protection agencies, and relevant online platforms to prevent others from falling victim.

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    In Conclusion:

    Regardless of whether you are looking for a designer breed or a purebred dog, conducting thorough research and being vigilant for the aforementioned warning signs will significantly enhance your chances of having a fulfilling puppy adoption experience!

    Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge to safely navigate your puppy search, enjoy the process and get ready to welcome your new pet home! If you are interested in learning about our Doodle Dogs here at Hidden Road Doodles, please reach out to us. Our farm is located in the rolling hills of central Ohio and we would love to have you stop by for a visit!

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