Ohio attorney general warns of online puppy scheme

Posted at 8:03 PM, May 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-11 06:56:28-04

HAMILTON, Ohio -- Puppy eyes can be hard to ignore.

But anyone looking for a new dog may want to turn from online shopping to instead adopting from a local shelter. The Ohio attorney general warned residents about online puppy scams this week.

At least two people in the Tri-State are out hundreds of dollars but have no puppy. And the attorney general's office has received about 40 puppy scam complaints so far this year.

"Con artists are very good at what they do," Attorney General Mike DeWine said in a news release. "They lure people in and then demand more and more money. Someone might pay $400 for a puppy, but then the con artist comes back and says there’s also an $800 crate fee. The person is already invested in the puppy and is more likely to pay. That’s why education and prevention are so important."

The typical puppy scam works like this: the victim finds an online ad for a puppy and wires several hundred dollars to have the dog delivered. The dog is never delivered. 

Meg Stephenson of Animal Friends Humane Society said one red flag is when websites have would-be puppy purchasers fill out information and send paper. She recommended anyone looking for a puppy do research.

It's also a good idea to speak to the seller in person and see the puppy firsthand.

Visiting a local shelter is also a good idea, according to Stephenson.

"That way you can give a home to a pet that is in need," she said.