How To Spot and Avoid Puppy Scams
Buying a puppy is a huge investment, in terms of dollar amount and energy. Unlike buying a computer, every puppy is unique, from their looks to their personalities. Also, buying a puppy is a 12-15 year commitment, so you must be absolutely sure about the puppy you’re buying before you make a purchase. Unfortunately, unlike buying things on Amazon, getting a puppy is fraught with risks, all the way from outright fraud to dishonest puppy mill operations. Below are some tips to avoid getting ripped off:
Watch out for recycled photos
Always confirm the puppy being advertised is the exact same one in the photos. We have seen and heard our customers complain of an unscrupulous middleman who shows beautiful puppy photos online, only to realize later that the same photos were recycled repeatedly to sell other puppies.
At PuppyFor.Me, we never use recycled photos. The photos and videos you see of each puppy is unique, and never re-used.
When it’s too good to be true…
As the old saying goes, if it’s too good to be true, it usually is. We have seen many scammers online advertising purebred puppies for very low prices. If you see someone selling a high quality Shiba Inu for $800 online, then it’s almost certainly a scam. They are preying on customer desire for a great deal and looking to scam as many people as possible. Don’t fall for it.
Payment you can’t get back
When making payments online, always make sure you can get your money back should you get defrauded. Scammers have a few ways of tricking you:
- They ask you to send money using Zelle or the Cash app. This is the same as sending cash, meaning you have zero recourse should they disappear.
- They will send you to a shipping company website, which is fake, and that company will collect shipping fees from you, once again, using a non-refundable way like Zelle or the Cash app.
At Puppyfor.me, we use Paypal, which offers buyer protection. This means your payment is always safe.
Stolen photos and videos
Always do a Google reverse image search for the photos of the puppy you’re interested in. Scammers always steal beautiful puppy photos to entice you. We are constantly facing this problem as scammers steal photos from us at PuppyFor.me. Here is an example:
Clicking on this ad takes you to a site called Woofs & Purrs, which has stolen puppy photos from us and listed them for $700.
If you come across any website that have stolen our puppy photos, please report them to us. Here are some recent scammers who have stolen our photos. If you come across them, do NOT give them any money or you will lose your money:
Check out their online reputation
Social proof is one of the strongest signals of reputation and quality. Before making a purchase, look for the following:
- Does the breeder have an online presence, and for how long?
- What are others saying about them? Any objective reviews?
- Ask for references.
Make sure the puppy you see online will be the same puppy you get in person
Ask to see proof of the puppy’s microchip ID. At PuppyFor.Me, we are always happy to show you videos of the puppy with their microchip ID scanned so you can be sure the puppy you see online will be the puppy you get in person. Check out a sample video of one of our puppies being scanned:
Unscrupulous sellers often repeatedly use the same set of puppy photos but sell their customers different puppies, as well as stealing photos of puppies from other sites, including ours to promote themselves. Don’t get tricked!
Unfounded claims and myths
Middlemen who are focused on selling lots of dogs peddle unfounded myths to insinuate that their dogs are high quality, when in fact they are not. Here are some common lies we have been made aware of:
- Shiba Inu puppies with black snouts are low-quality and ugly. This is simply not true. All purebred Shiba Inus are born with black snouts, and that dark area will always lighten once they grow up. Sure, there are some puppies born with lighter snouts to begin with, but that ALL goes away. This type of myth propagates selective filtering of otherwise healthy Shiba Inu puppies that grow up to be absolutely gorgeous, resulting in unwanted puppies that end up being abandoned, which is quite sad. DON’T fall for this. You don’t have to take our word for it, just check out this thread discussing snout color progression with lots of photos. Also check out the color progression of one of our Shiba Inu puppies: