The state’s attorney general is warning Ohioans to be on the alert for scams involving too-good-to-be-true offers for puppies or other pets for sale online.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says his office has received more than 25 complaints in the last two years from consumers who said they paid for a dog or other pet they found online but never received. DeWine says the average loss of such scams is more than $1,000.
The attorney general says warning signs include a low cost for a dog of a popular or expensive breed and sellers who seek additional fees beyond the agreed-upon price. Consumers also should be wary of breeders communicating only online or via text message and of pets offered “free” to a good home.
Consumers should beware of the following red flags of a scam:
• Breeders who will communicate only online or via text message
• A low cost for a dog of a popular or expensive breed
• Sellers who ask for additional fees beyond the agreed-upon price
• Pets that are “free” to a good home
• Sellers who say they will refund the money once the puppy is delivered
• Shipping companies or couriers that keep contacting the consumer asking for more money
• Claims that there was an insufficient shipping container
To protect themselves from scams, consumers should deal with a local breeder who has a good reputation. They can check for complaints on file with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau, and they can seek information from animal adoption organizations. Consumers also should meet the puppy in person before sending any money.