Today the internet serves as an area where we can buy and sell almost anything. Now, you can even buy or adopt a puppy online—or can you really? The Better Business Bureau (BBB) reminds us that it can be a dog-eat-dog world in cyber space.
When you begin to take to the internet for your next favorite four-legged friend, keep in the mind the multitude of dog scams out there. The BBB reports that 80 percent of pet advertisements have the potential of being fraud—which means you’re more likely to be scammed than successful in your dog search!
With a majority of puppy ads deemed scams, it may be safer to hit the animal shelter or visit the Humane Society’s website. But, if the internet is best for you, here are some tips when shopping for your pet:
- See the dog in person. Like most scams, urgency is always involved. Try to arrange to meet the dog before you commit through payment or contract.
- Check for photo authenticity. Since most of what you know about the dog is through the posted pictures, verify they’re real. Putting the photos through a search engine will show you if there are other copies of the same photo being used elsewhere. Google has an image search function, as does the website com. Chances are, if the photos come up in more than one place, it’s a scam.
- Check and see if the ad is authentic. If the dog photos are inauthentic, chances are the advertisement is too. Check to see if it’s unique by copying and pasting the text from the website and searching it online. If the same ad shows up in multiple places it’s probably a scam.
- Pay with a credit card. If everything here checks out, it is still a good idea to pay with a credit card if you can. This ensures you the opportunity to challenge any chargers made on your account.
To learn more about this issue, read the BBB International Investigations Initiative’s study on the extent and magnitude of puppy scams.
Guest Blogger: Morgan Grunow