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Puppy scams on the rise during pandemic: BBB

Last Updated May 12, 2020 at 12:25 pm MST

Image by Mario Alberto Magallanes Trejo

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Another scam is making the rounds during the COVID-19 pandemic and this one involves puppies.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) says there have been more than 500 incidents of puppy scams reported in southern Alberta over the last few months.

Scammers take advantage of would-be pet owners by advertising the animals online using pictures. However, the pets don’t exist and those who already paid for them never see the animals in-person.

Victims were often told they needed to send money for things like climate-controlled crates, insurance and a non-existent COVID-19 vaccine.

“Scammers frequently take advantage of the news to find new avenues for targeting victims,” said Shawna-Kay Thomas with the BBB of southern Alberta.

“The uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, along with some quarantined families’ decision to adopt a pet sight unseen, has created fertile ground for fraudsters.”

These types of puppy scams were the subject of a 2017 investigative study by the BBB and are more common at Christmas time.

To prevent falling for these scams, the BBB says you should never buy a pet without seeing it in person and never send money through means like Western Union or MoneyGram.

You should also consider purchasing a pet from a local shelter instead of going online.