The Holidays Are Here… And So Are Puppy Scams

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According to the report, California is the state with the most reported puppy scams, with 345 scams reported to the Better Business Bureau from January 1, 2021 to October 31, 2021. As a result, scam victims in California lost over a quarter of a million dollars, with the average amount of money lost per victim totaling $733.69. 

Texas, Florida, and New York followed closely behind, with scam victims in these states on average losing more than $700. Texas scam victims had the highest average loss, with $913.20 total. That’s a collective $220,000 lost to puppy scams.

Michigan, however, stands out with the highest amount of money lost on average to puppy-related scams. In this state, scam victims lost on average $1,097. 

Puppy fraud is on the rise, as many consider puppies as Christmas gifts. Together with the Better Business Bureau, the report found:

  • From January 1, 2021 to October 31, 2021, there were 3,000 puppy scams reported – 165% more puppy scams in the U.S. than during the same time period in pre-pandemic 2019. 
  • California reported 345 cases making it the #1 state with the most reported puppy scams.
  • California lost over a quarter of a million dollars to puppy scams, with the average amount of money lost per victim totalling $733.69.
  • Texas, Florida, and New York follow closely behind, with scam victims in these states on average losing more than $700, though Texas stands out with its $913.20 total.
  • Michigan has the most money lost per fraud. Scam victims lost on average $1,097 in this state.
  • With regards to the number of scams per 100K people, Montana tops the list at 1.94 scams per 100,000 residents. 
  • Colorado, Arizona, Virginia, and Washington are the only states both in the Top 15 for most puppy scams overall as well as the Top 15 for most reported puppy scams per 100,000 people. 

When looking for tips on how to avoid puppy fraud and scams, a number one option could be to adopt. In fact, puppies for Christmas are usually not a super great idea in general. Still, if you’re looking for specific breed and want to go through a breeder, pay attention to the following red flag:

  • The seller claims you won’t be able to view the puppy in person first due to COVID restrictions and requiring you to pay a deposit to reserve the puppy through Western Union, MoneyGram, Zelle, or Cash App. 

For more information on the states that have the highest fraud, as well as tips on how to avoid puppy scams, you can find the report here.