Don’t buy that bulldog! The ‘puppy scam’ dashes the dreams of 10k dog lovers

Thousands of wannabe dog owners have fallen for the internet’s latest fraudulent gimmick: the ‘puppy scam.’


January 10, 2019

The internet’s latest and greatest scam involves tricking people into paying for puppies that don’t exist.

According to a blistering Buzzfeed News report, the Better Business Bureau received 10k puppy scam complaints in the past 3 years, and in 59% of cases, no doggos were delivered.

Internet scams are going to the dogs

In the course of the internet’s long and troubled history, a few scams have achieved legendary success: The timeless online dating scam, the classic ‘Nigerian prince scam,’ the ‘fake antivirus’ scam, and Facebook all come to mind.

But, thanks to a natural human weakness for puppy videos, the puppy scam has joined these ranks of rip-off royalty.

“If you look at more than one or two [puppy sites], you’re going to run across a fraud site,” Steven Baker of the BBB told BuzzFeed. “It’s that bad.”

Hide your credit cards, hide your dog-loving mother-in-law

The scam works like this: Fake breeders lure people to imposter sites with false credentials. Then, after building attachment with fake videos, they trick buyers into paying upfront for dogs they’ve already fallen in love with.

Victims often end up paying between $100 and $1K before they realized they’ve been tricked.

Daily briefings, straight to your inbox

Business and tech news in 5 minutes or less

Join over 1 million people who read The Hustle

Psst

How'd Bezos build a billion dollar empire?

In 1994, Jeff Bezos discovered a shocking stat: Internet usage grew 2,300% per year.

Data shows where markets are headed.

And that’s why we built Trends — to show you up-and-coming market opportunities about to explode. Interested?

Join us, it's free.

Look, you came to this site because you saw something cool. But here’s the deal. This site is actually a daily email that covers the important news in business, tech, and culture.

So, if you like what you’re reading, give the email a try.