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Holidays are Prime Time for Pet Scams

Holidays are Prime Time for Pet Scams

Holidays are Prime Time for Pet Scams

December 12, 2022

BBB Investigation Update: Average Money Loss in Puppy Scams Spikes

Rockford, IL – Dec. 6, 2022 – Puppy scams are not only one of the most emotionally devastating scams, but a new BBB study update also reveals victims are losing more money per incident than ever before. In fact, average monetary losses are climbing, with an average loss of $850 in 2022, up 60% since 2017. BBB has tracked this since 2017, when it issued an in-depth study Puppy Scams: How Fake Online Pet Sellers Steal from Unsuspecting Pet Buyers. Yorkies, Dachshunds and French Bulldogs make up nearly 30% of all puppy scams, according to 2022 BBB Scam TrackerSM reports. However, consumers mentioned more than 40 breeds, meaning that buyers should be cautious when shopping for any breed online.


Dennis Horton, director of the Rockford Regional Office of the BBB says, “These scams remain consistently profitable for scammers because their multi-tiered setup allows them to convincingly go back to a consumer several times to ask for money.”

While the actual cases are down this past year, consumer losses to pet scams in North America are expected to exceed $2 million. That total is down by a third since the peak of more than $3 million during the pandemic in 2020-2021, according to BBB Scam Tracker.

Pet scams historically make up a quarter of all online shopping frauds reported to BBB and are on track to be about 18% this year.

Horton adds, “Because purchasing a pet can be such an emotionally charged experience, BBB urges consumers to be on high alert for scams.”

Puppy scammers lure people in with fake websites, and promises of cute puppies, then ask for more money for shipping or special crates. Consumers say it is easy to be swept up in the moment's emotions when buying a pet and push forward despite reservations.

BBB Scam Tracker reports show that those who tried to purchase pets without seeing them in person, use hard-to-track payment methods like payment apps, and accept extra charges like shipping insurance or special cages, are at an increased risk of being scammed.

Many bogus puppy websites, often registered outside of North America, appear, and vanish quickly, hampering law enforcement efforts. Prosecutions in puppy scam cases are tough to crack, as perpetrators are often outside of the country.

For more information If you’ve spotted a scam (whether or not you’ve lost money), report it to BBB ScamTracker. Visit BBB.org or follow us @ChicagoBBB on social media. Look for the BBB seal, The Sign of a Better Business.
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About BBB:
BBB of Chicago and Northern Illinois is a nonprofit organization that has served both consumers and trustworthy businesses for 96 years and is a part of the IABBB. We help protect consumers from scams and provide a free database for consumers to see business ratings and reviews to find businesses they can trust. We connect customers to businesses they can trust.
The International Association of Better Business Bureaus (IABBB) is the network hub for BBBs in the US, Canada, and Mexico.
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