Thursday, October 12, 2017

Beware of Puppy Scams!

This year has been notorious for puppy scams aimed at Cockapoos. It seems like every week I am contacted by a family who did, or almost, got ripped off. I constantly am reading posts on Facebook from families that lost their money and I keep seeing new "fake websites" and "fake Facebook sites" popping up online. To me some of them are obvious-bad grammar, incorrect spelling, pictures that have already been posted on other fake sites, prices that are too good to be true, free shipping, etc. but to the first time buyer or super excited family they may look past all of that because they simply want to add a beautiful puppy to their home, so they fall for it and lose their money. 
I'm not sure why the Cockapoo has become the main focus this year but I have a feeling that the scammers are most likely a group of people working together. I personally know a couple real breeders that have their text/photos/videos stolen from their websites and used on fake ones, they were used on multiple sites making me think that these scammers are sharing their material or just producing multiple fake sites to rip off more people. I have been trying to keep up with the names of fake sites and have them posted on my website but if you know of any that I have missed please share so that we can possibly help someone out. 
I fear that with the holiday season coming things are going to get worse because sometimes people wait too long to start looking for a puppy and they then become desperate and overlook all the warning signs. If you are looking for a puppy please beware of: Prices that are too good to be true! Free Shipping! Bad Grammar! And most of all anyone that asks you to wire them money because once they have it, it is gone!
I have spoken to several people that have either been ripped off or were in contact with some of these fake sellers and they have reported that they mostly contact you through text and once they receive your deposit via wire transfer you never hear from them again. Others have reported that once they send the deposit the seller demands a huge amount of additional money for a specialty crate that the airport requires or they will not ship the puppy, this is not true, I ship all the time and you don't need super expensive 'specialty crates.' Another lady told me that the scammer told her she is offering free shipping because she has 'coupons for free flights from the airline.' I don't know about you, but I have never received a coupon from any airline offering me a free flight, so again, a claim that is too good to be true because it is!
As of right now (10/12/17) most of the scammers are claiming to be in Virginia, I have no idea why they are using this location but this again makes me think that it's a group of people working together. 
I promise you that there are good breeders out there, we work very hard to raise our puppies the right way so please do not take the bad actions of a few out on the rest of us. Due to all the scams going on I don't blame people for being extra careful about who they are dealing with but I've had a few phone calls from people who were obviously very untrusting of anyone they were contacting and that makes me feel uncomfortable too.
Good luck to all of those that are out there in search of a puppy, please do your homework to make sure you are dealing with a legitimate breeder, I really hope this recent phase of scams comes to an end soon.