Five Cavalier King Charles Spaniel dogs for a walk in Greetsiel, northern Germany, Thursday, May 2, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mohssen Assanimoghaddam/dpa via AP

Better Business Bureau warns online puppy scams surging during COVID-19 pandemic

People from Victoria to Toronto and Halifax have reported being victimized while trying to buy a puppy online

The Better Business Bureau says puppy scams are the latest way fraudsters are taking advantage of lonely, isolated people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A statement from the Better Business Bureau serving Mainland British Columbia says online puppy scams have spiked since the pandemic reached North America.

The bureau says consumer assistance organizations across the country have received more reports about fraudulent pet websites in April than in the first three months of the year combined.

Karla Laird, the spokeswoman for bureau serving Mainland B.C., says scammers are taking advantage of the desire of would-be pet owners to find joy during difficult times.

She says people from Victoria to Toronto and Halifax have reported being victimized while trying to buy a puppy online.

The Better Business Bureau has several tips to guard against the scams, including never to buy a pet without seeing it in person and not to send payments by Western Union, Moneygram or gift cards.

An earlier study of puppy frauds conducted by the bureau found the most successful scams depend sophisticated advertisements to hook unsuspecting consumers.

“Experts believed at that time, that at least 80 per cent of the sponsored advertising links that appear in an internet search for pets may be fraudulent,” a statement from the BBB says.

It points to one website claiming to be based in Tulsa, Okla., that specifically targets people trying to buy dogs from the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed.

Would-be buyers are advised to check when the website was created and whether any logos or links are authentic.

“Some of the most common traits of scam websites during the pandemic are the fact that they have no online footprint or history, the social media links are not active or not working and the websites were launched between February to April of this year,” the bureau warns.

Pet owners should research prices for the breed they are interested in adopting, says the bureau.

If a purebred dog is advertised for free or at a deeply discounted price, and then other payment is required for services like vaccination or shipping, it could be a fraudulent offer, it says.

Local shelters should also be considered a good source to find a dog seeking a home, says the bureau.

READ MORE: Police seize 1,500 fake COVID-19 tests being sold in B.C.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusPets

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

SD 52 fires superintendent

Dr. Irene LaPierre removed from position immediately.

Necropsy for Port Edward wolf is scheduled

Wolf sightings in Prince Rupert have increased

Wolf killed in Port Edward

Samples to be sent to lab. for testing

Why I relay

Cancer survivor learns to heal

Prince Rupert woman’s serious injuries after arrest spark police watchdog probe

Prince Rupert woman suffers serious injuries during arrest

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Bateman program encourages people to sketch outside, connect with nature

#MyNatureSketch initiative encourages Canadians to become ‘bright-eyed three year olds’

Be cautious expanding COVID-19 bubble, Dr. Bonnie Henry tells B.C.

Senior homes stay off-limits as schools, businesses reopen

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

B.C. NDP says Andrew Wilkinson is wrong about federal link

Most Read