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BBB warns about puppy scams during the holidays

According to the BBB, the holidays are a time scammers are pocketing more money from people looking to buy from breeders.
Posted at 6:34 PM, Dec 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-05 19:34:06-05

CORPUS CHRISTI — If people are itching to gift a furry friend during the holiday season, the Better Business Bureau said they’re seeing an increase in puppy scams.

According to the BBB, the holidays are a time scammers are pocketing more money from people looking to buy from breeders.

“I’m always getting in mischief and looking for an adventure and that’s what these dogs are,” Nancy Elliff said.

Elliff, a legitimate and ethical breeder and owns Smokin Pistol Jack Russell Terriers in Robstown.

“I wanted to protect the natural breed standard of the jack russells,” Elliff said.

She said she makes sure her puppies go to the best homes.

“I won’t accept anyone,” she said. “They have to have a little knowledge about the jack.”

“Buyers, actually a lot of them are, especially around this time, they’re like, we don’t wanna be cammed we’ve been scammed before.”

Katie Galan with the BBB said the holidays are primetime for puppy scams.

“People are asking for a large percentage of the payment up front or the whole payment up front and of course they never receive the pet,” Galan said. “And then all correspondence has pretty much ended by the supposed seller.”

Elliff said communication never stops between her and a potential buyer

“Facetiming and things like that or Facebook video calls,” Elliff said.

The BBB said it’s typical for breeders to ask for a deposit but nothing more than 50 percent.

“My deposits are usually less than 25 percent of what the puppy price is,” Elliff said.“I will take checks, money orders, things like that. Venmo, Cash App, things like that would be red flags.”

“It’s very common for these people to steal these photos from other social media accounts, maybe from other breeders,” Galan said.

Galan recommended doing a reverse image search on Google.

Someone can plug in a picture or a URL provided to them and the results will show where that picture originated from and can be found.

Elliff said the breeder should always be up front and transparent.

“They should have access to vet records,” Elliff said. “Any documentation whether it be health testings, everything has to be legit and they need to all have phone numbers.”

Galan said, once scammed, it’s almost impossible for someone to get their money back.

“You know the phone number doesn’t work anymore, the email address doesn’t work anymore you know there’s no more social media accounts,” Galan said.

She said victims should still report it to police and through the BBB Scam Tracker.