Puppy scams on the rise, Better Business Bureau warns


TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning people the COVID-19 pandemic is cover for a “dramatic number” of puppy scams.

The BBB Scam Tracker has seen a spike in pet fraud reports, with nearly 4,000 complaints received in 2020 from the U.S. and Canada.

The sharp rise in people working from home also saw a large number of people adopting puppies.

The “COVID bump” is continuing through the holidays, and the BBB reported 337 complaints in November.

The BBB is warning potential pet owners to use “extreme caution” to prevent buying a pet online that simply does not exist.

“COVID-19 has made for a long and uncertain year, and a ‘quarantine puppy’ or other pet has proven to be a comfort for many people, but it also has created fertile ground for fraudsters, people currently shopping for pets online are prime targets for fraudsters trolling the internet looking for want-to-be pet owners. Knowing the red flags associated with this scam can help consumers avoid heartache and losing their money.”

Jim Hegarty, president and CEO of the BBB serving Nebraska, South Dakota, The Kansas Plains and South Dakota

At the current pace, pet scams reported to BBB will be nearly five times as many as in 2017.

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