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Online puppy scams take a big bite out of buyers in Texas, says study

Online Scams

Online puppy scams take a big bite out of buyers in Texas, says study


Your kids are begging for a puppy as a holiday gift, so you scour the internet for the perfect pet. That internet search could land you in the doghouse, though. Texas ranks second among the states with the most online puppy-selling scams.

Veterinarians.org review of Better Business Bureau scam data from January 1 to October 31 uncovered 242 puppy scams in Texas, second only to California (345). Given that California and Texas are the biggest states in terms of population, it’s not surprising that these two states top the list.

What is eye-opening, however, is the amount of money — $913.20 per incident — lost in Texas puppy scams reported to the Better Business Bureau. Michigan ranked first in that category ($1,097 per scam). Many of these scams happen on online platforms such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, according to Veterinarians.org.

From January 1 to October 31, Texas victims “collectively lost over $220,000 to puppy scams, with many victims finding themselves conned out of several thousand dollars in certain instances,” Veterinarians.org says.

In nearly all cases, puppy scammers direct buyers to send a deposit through a wire transfer or through an app like Cash App or Zelle, but then the seller never produces a pooch, according to Veterinarians.org. In these situations, it’s practically impossible to obtain a refund because the sender already has authorized the cash transfer and it can’t be canceled.


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