10 Practical Tips to Avoid Online Dog Adoption Scams

In today's digital age, online scammers run rampant, and the world of pet adoption is an easy target. Bad actors prey on the goodwill of hopeful adopters, exploiting their trust and love for animals. To navigate these waters safely, here are ten tips to protect you from online dog adoption scams:

1. Ask for Multiple Pictures

Before committing to an adoption, request multiple images of the dog from various angles. Ask for specific poses with identifiable items, like a recent newspaper or a familiar toy. Authenticity can often be discerned through these details.

2. Obtain Contact Information

Request the seller's phone number, as well as contact information for the dog’s veterinarian. Refusal to provide these details or the presence of international contact information should raise immediate red flags. Take the initiative to make calls and validate the information provided.

3. Avoid Upfront Payments

Don’t make upfront payments, especially if expected to send money abroad or to a location other than the seller’s supposed location. Any deviation from the agreed-upon transaction terms should raise red flags.

4. Steer Clear of International Transactions

In instances where the seller or breeder operates outside the United States, exercise extreme caution and consider it a potential warning sign. Stick to domestic transactions to minimize the risk of falling prey to fraudulent schemes.

5. Verify Breeder Registration Information

Demand proof of breeder registration and verify its authenticity with the relevant breeders' association. Any hesitance or refusal to provide such information is reason enough to conclude the transaction.

6. Only Utilize Secure Payment Methods

Conduct transactions using credit cards to ensure support in case of disputes or fraudulent activity. As mentioned, avoid cash transactions, money orders, or wire transfers, as they offer little to no protection against potential scams.

7. Beware of Hidden Charges

If the seller introduces unexpected expenses, such as veterinary fees, travel costs, or pet insurance, it’s probably a scam. Pet insurance is not a mandatory requirement for transporting or traveling with a dog.

8. Resist Pressure Tactics

Don’t work with sellers who employ high-pressure tactics to rush the adoption process, especially if they’re threatening harm to the dog. Take your time to thoroughly vet the seller and ensure the legitimacy of the transaction.

9. Research Market Prices

Do your homework to familiarize yourself with the typical pricing range for the breed you intend to adopt. Be wary of offers that seem too good to be true, such as purebred dogs at discounted rates or no cost at all.

10. Keep An Eye Out for Bad Grammar

Pay attention to the quality of written communication, as poor grammar and spelling errors could indicate fraudulent activity. Genuine sellers are likely to communicate clearly and professionally.

To avoid internet scams, only engage with reputable breeders, local rescue groups, or animal shelters to ensure a safe and fulfilling adoption experience.

If you want to safely start your search today, browse our network of shelters and rescues to find the perfect pup today!