If you've been a member of DK for more than a minute, you know how serious we are about promoting responsible breeding. We want to help you find a quality breeder and not settle for less than excellence. We've written about it and podcasted about it. But the pandemic has brought out a new kind of ugly: The Puppy Scammer. These scammers are not good breeders, they aren't bad breeders, they are not breeders at all!
They are literally scammers that prey on inexperienced dog owners who are in a rush to buy a doodle puppy. They get you to send in a deposit and then vanish.
Now, the easiest way to avoid scammers is to set your eyes on what a real responsible breeder is, then you won't even be tempted by a scammer because they will meet ZERO good breeder criteria. Read our article here on how to spot a responsible breeder: https://doodlekisses.com/notes/What_To_Look_for_In_a_Breeder
But for kicks, let's look at a few ways scammers work:
A) They have "fake" FB accounts. Their profile might show a puppy or a person with a puppy...or even look like a family. But there is little to nothing on their personal page that suggests a real person involved with dogs. If they do have dog posts they are very vague and have little interaction. They are often not even based in the USA. It's a brilliant plan really--much more effective than the past scams of "I have $1,000,000 in your name you just have to send me all your personal info so I can transfer you the money from Fake Princeypoo from (___insert faraway land___)."
B) They have a "fake" FB breeder page:
- They post photos of puppies, BUT, there is little real interaction
- They often use the phrase "available for rehoming" using a term that FB allows for dog sales
- They give very little useful info and basically offer to PM anyone with any questions.
- Photos are ALL very "professional" and look like stock images, not a single real life photo or photos of a real person raising real puppies.
- If you look at the puppy photos you'll notice vastly different backgrounds as if the person has an entirely different design and flooring all over their home. One puppy will be on carpet, another will have a fancy photo set up, another will be on one kind of wood flooring, another will be on a different wood flooring, another will be on grass, another will be in a different professional photo shoot setup, another will be on tile. Backyards will look different from one photo to another. Realistically, if a breeder is doing a photo shoot, it's a ton of work to set up, and they will not be taking each puppy to some different environment to do it. Here is an example of puppies in vastly different environments (these are all pulled and compiled from a stock photo site and instagram). These are the vastly different backgrounds/flooring/etc you'll see for the puppies they have "available." See how they all seem to be in different homes instead of with the same breeder? Well, of course, since I collected these pictures from different places, they ARE from different places. I've even seen puppies with name tags--breeders don't buy name tags for puppies they have "for sale." They steal these photos from existing breeders/websites and possibly use free stock photos too.
C) There is RARELY a website where you can learn much about their pretend program. If there is one, their website will be equally vague, have odd grammer/descriptions of their dogs/puppies, and the same compilation of stock poodle-mix photos. Quite often the FB page "location" won't match the website location (if there is a website, often there is not) and the area code of the phone number will also not match.
D) They will try to do all the transaction via text message and a payment app and be "ready to sell" without asking you much about yourself. They won't Facetime/Zoom/Skype with you and photos they send will likely be more stock photos.
I would say these are the bare basics of spotting a puppy scammer. Be aware and aim for high standards so you don't have to be fooled by a scammer!