Florida Among Top States in Puppy Scam Money Losses
As the holiday season approaches, some families eagerly search for the perfect Christmas puppy. According to Veternarians.org, the demand for “puppy for sale” experienced a surge in December. However, this scenario often takes a heartbreaking turn, as unsuspecting people become victims of online puppy scams.
Amid the holiday cheer, the excitement of finding a furry friend can lead to disappointment. Many people, despite sending money to supposed sellers, find themselves empty-handed with no puppy or any form of follow-up communication.
The latest data from Veterinarians.org reveals a concerning trend in 2023. Americans have collectively lost over $1 million to puppy scams, as reported to the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The period from January 1, 2023, to October 31, 2023, witnessed over a thousand reported cases, prompting Veterinarians.org’s Special Reports Team to identify states with the highest monetary losses from puppy scams.
States with the most puppy scams.
Defining a puppy scam as an interaction with fraudulent websites or social media listings, the team discovered that California topped the list with nearly $90,000 lost to puppy scams. Victims in this state faced an average loss of $1,206. Other states in the Top 5 include Texas, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania, where losses ranged from $750 to over $900 per scam.
According to the study, Florida had a total amount of $49,510 losses statewide. It was also revealed that the state’s average amount lost per victim is $934.
It’s worth noting that the reported numbers may only scratch the surface of the issue. Among the 1,000-plus puppy scam reports filed with the BBB, 21% of victims chose not to disclose their state of residence, contributing to over a quarter of a million dollars in losses ($233,718).
Common issues appear in reports to the Better Business Bureau when dealing with online puppy purchases. Sellers often prevent in-person visits or fail to provide sufficient images or videos of the puppy. They ask for upfront payment through various methods, including Western Union, MoneyGram, Zelle, Cash App, or gift cards. Also, additional payments may be requested for items like shipping crates, vaccinations, or insurance.
Warning signs also include breeders’ websites lacking information about the puppy’s parents, an inability to provide health records or AKC Certification, and unusually low prices for purebred puppies.
While online platforms like Facebook Marketplace are popular for finding puppies, they are often linked to reported issues. Alternatives, such as local animal shelters and rescue groups, offer the chance to meet and assess a potential pet in person, ensuring a safer and more transparent adoption process.
Check out the complete study here.