Hundreds of complaints are filed every year from victims who were scammed when buying a dog online. The puppy you receive may not be the puppy you agreed to buy or you may not even receive a puppy at all!

How Can I Avoid Being Scammed?

The best way to avoid being scammed is to simply never buy a dog you haven’t met in person. While the Internet can be a valuable tool for finding a responsible breeder or breed rescue group, please make sure to follow these tips when using the Internet to find a pup:

  • Always visit. Responsible breeders and rescue groups will be more than happy to offer you a tour.
  • Always pick your puppy up at the kennel. Do not have the puppy shipped or meet at a random location.
  • Always check references, including others who have purchased pets from this breeder and the veterinarian the breeder works with.
  • Be sure to deal directly with a breeder, not a broker.
  • If you are told that there will be no refunds for a sick puppy, you are most probably dealing with a puppy mill. A reputable breeder or rescue group will always take the puppy back, regardless of the reason.

Also keep in mind that adoption is still the best option, even if you have your heart set on a purebred dog. There are thousands of dogs waiting for good homes at local animal shelters, including purebreds!

A common story:

Warning – puppy fraud: We responded to an advert (on locanto) for puppies for sale, birthday gift for our 4 year old daughter. After having to motivate to the fraudsters how our home was good enough for the puppies, we were duly accepted and the process began. We paid for the puppies into the guys personal Capitec account, he confirmed payment (R5000), and that all was on track. We were then contacted by his courier company, saying the guy had dropped off the dogs, but the shipping crates for airlines were not correct, we could rent a crate for R4250 and get R3950 back as a holding deposit. They confirmed flight numbers, courier reference numbers etc – and the puppies never arrived, the bank said this is known as a “puppy scam”. Shame we lost our hard earned cash, and our daughter is devastated that the puppy she waited for never arrived.


– image of puppy from shutterstock