It’s an awful thing to think about, but the reality is that there are some pretty heartless people in the world looking to cause hurt and their tool of choice is puppies.

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In 2022, to date, there have been over 1,400 scams reported to the Better Business Bureau regarding puppy scams.

The way that a puppy scam works is that the victim will send money to a supposed seller online in exchange for a puppy and the “seller” will then vanish without a trace leaving the victim out money and a puppy.

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In New York state from January 1, 2022 to October 31, 2022, there have been 51 puppy scams reported to the Better Business Bureau at a loss of $33,187 – that figure only takes into account the scams that were actually reported. It’s estimated that there are hundreds of other cases that have not bee formally reported.

The experts at Veterinarians.org predict that the number of puppy scams will only increase as Christmas draws closer as this is a popular time of year for online searches for puppies for sale see a sharp incline.

Experts say there are some things that you can do to protect yourself from a puppy scam and that if you are planning to purchase a puppy for Christmas, you should be weary of any seller who tells you that you won’t be able to see the puppy in person before you adopt it.

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Additionally, if a seller requests that you send them a form of payment through “Western Union, MoneyGram, a digital money app like Zelle or Cash App, or via a gift card,” you alarms should raise.

Often puppy sellers ask for additional money for things such as vaccinations or transportation and claim that the money will be refunded as soon as the buyer has the puppy but the sad truth is that the money is never refunded.

Also be cautious about websites of breeders that are unable to provide proof of health records ir AKC Certification. You should also be suspicious if the website does not offer information about the mother and father of the puppy.

And finally, it is a big red flag if a seller is offering a purebred puppy and at a price that is much lower than others are selling the same purebred puppy for.

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To prepare yourself for a potential incident, always keep your vet's phone number handy, along with an after-hours clinic you can call in an emergency. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center also has a hotline you can call at (888) 426-4435 for advice.

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