Puppy Scams Increased By 165% This Year – North Carolina Among The Worst Offenders


Puppy fraud is on the rise as the holidays approach, many consider puppies a wonderful gift.

The team at Veterinarians.org analyzed data from The Better Business Bureau to find out which states had the most online puppy scams this year.

Key Findings:

  • From January 1, 2021 to October 31, 2021, there were 3,000 puppy scams reported – 165% more puppy scams in the U.S. than during the same time period in pre-pandemic 2019.
  • North Carolina was found to be the 7th worst state in the nation, with a total of 103 cases and an average lost per victim of $719.47 so far in 2021.
  • California was the #1 worst state, with 345 reported cases and an average lost per victim of $733.69.
  • With regards to the number of scams per 100K people, Montana tops the list at 1.94 scams per 100,000 residents.

Here is the complete list of the 15 worst states in terms of puppy scams in 2021:

Total losses from puppy scams in 2021 are projected to exceed $3.1 million, according to the Better Business Bureau – a steady increase since 2017, when consumers reported just $448,123 in losses.

The scammers’ tactics have been evolving, with many now using mobile payment apps like Zelle and CashApp, replacing wire transfers.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, the coronavirus had provided scammers with a new pretext to charge extra fees for virus-related “regulations.”

Fraudsters have been illustrating their sites with stock images of puppies and commonly tell buyers they cannot pick up the pet because of Covid-19 restrictions.

If you’re thinking about buying a new puppy this holiday season, please consider adopting one from the Humane Society of Charlotte.

If you’re heart is set on a pure breed, here are some tips to avoid being scammed:

  • Use Google’s image search function to see if a puppy appears on several websites.
  • Avoid money-wiring services and be wary of conversations that happen only by text.
  • Don’t pay money up front – especially if it’s requested through Cash App or Zelle.
  • Check a breeders online reviews on both Google and Facebook.