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

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Three projects on the North Coast awarded funding

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

Hagensborg Water District purchases new fire truck; prepares for conversion to CCRD

Approximately $1.3 million of the district’s infrastructure grant has been transferred to the CCRD.

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

Most Read