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

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

Ben Tyler was working on a Nicola area ranch when he disappeared. File photo
Ben Tyler was working on a Nicola area ranch when he disappeared. File photo
Police believe missing Merritt cowboy was the victim of homicide

Two years after he went missing, Ben Tyner’s family makes video plea for information

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Kristy Bjarnason will be filling in the position left vacant by Darrell Hill. (Councillor Kristy Bjarnason Facebook photo/Lakes District News)
Kristy Bjarnason elected to be the new councillor

Preliminary election results for the 2021 by-election declared

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

The shirts sell for $45, with 30 per cent of proceeds from each sale going to Battered Women’s Support Services in Vancouver. (Madame Premier/Sarah Elder-Chamanara)
Canadian company launches ‘hysterical’ T-Shirt to combat health officials’ use of word

A partnership with Tamara Taggart will see women broadcast the word on a T-shirt or tote bag

ICBC has seen savings on crash and injury claims in the COVID-19 pandemic, with traffic on B.C. roads reduced. (Penticton Western News)
ICBC opens online calculator for rate savings starting in May

Bypassing courts expected to save 20% on average

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
16% boom predicted for B.C. real estate sales in 2021: experts

Along with sales, the average price of homes is also predicted to rise, by nearly 8 percent

The trial of Harry Richardson began Monday at the Nelson courthouse. File photo
Trial of man accused of shooting RCMP officer in West Kootenay in 2019 begins

Harry Richardson is facing five charges in a Nelson courtroom

FILE – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks at a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine CEO ‘very, very clear’ that Canada’s contracts will be honoured: Trudeau

Trudeau says he spoke to Moderna CEO on the morning of Jan. 26

Brad Windsor has been an advocate for years to get sidewalks installed along Milburn Drive in Colwood, but to no avail. He wants city council to commit to making Milburn a priority lane for sidewalk construction in the future. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Dramatic crash caught on B.C. home security camera

Angry residents say video highlights need for sidewalks in B.C. residential neighbourhood

An independent review is underway at the Royal BC Museum after employees called out systemic, individual racism at the institution. (Twitter/RBCM)
Royal BC Museum faces allegations of systemic racism, toxic work environment

Formal investigation, survey and training launched at museum

In this May 23, 2012, file photo, an approximately 2-year-old female cougar runs away from a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife trap after being released northeast of Arlington, Wash. A cougar has attacked and severely mauled a man in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mark Mulligan/The Daily Herald via AP
Cougar euthanized in B.C. after severely mauling a man north of Vancouver

Whistler RCMP officers were first on the scene and shot and killed a cougar prowling nearby

Most Read