Is This a Puppy Scam?

puppySomeone Asked You to Pay Through Western Union for a Puppy -- Now What?

We've discussed puppy scams and how to avoid falling for them many times on our blog, but since we've received phone calls about some new pet scam techniques in the past few days, we wanted to give our readers another heads up.

  • First of all, we highly discourage buying a pet from an unknown source, especially someone who is in a different state or country. If you can't go to their house, meet them, and see the pet for yourself, you're already taking a risk.

  • Read this. If any of these typical pet scam details sound familiar, walk away. Particular red flags include a very sad or dramatic story from the pet seller, a "free" pet that just requires paying "transportation costs," and the request that you send payment via Western Union or MoneyGram.

  • Remember, just because someone has a picture of a pet, that doesn't mean it's real. Often pet scammers just find a photo online and pass it off as their own. Pet scammers do not actually have any pets in their possession, so anything they say about a puppy being stuck at the airport or being in danger is simply not true.

  • Same goes for "official" sounding pet company names. Google everything they send you to find out if they are real or not and pay close attention to the email address they use. If it's more sketchy than official, you should stop communicating with them.

  • Specific Example: We recently heard from someone taken in by a supposed breeder called "Bosco Bulldogs" who told their would-be client they were using PetRelocation to ship the pet. A little research reveals this is not a real breeder, and when they called us they found out that of course we knew nothing about the "order." Note: PetRelocation deals with pet owners directly and will never ask that you wire money for our services.

In summary, just be smart. If something seems off, it's probably a scam. Never rush into anything and never send money to a questionable source online, and above all, remember that these problems can be avoided by adopting from your local animal shelter or rescue organization!

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any advice for your fellow pet lovers, and contact PetRelocation if you need assistance planning a pet move.


Photo credit: Jennifer/Flickr


PetRelocation Team




United States


Add a Comment

By Vicki Stadtmiller on December 4, 2017 at 8:46 am

Do you know anything about this breeder They have beautiful puppies for sale but wants you to pay with money gram! Where can I get more information about them?

By on December 4, 2017 at 1:22 pm

Hello Vicki,

We haven't heard of this particular company, so we'd say proceed with caution. Do they operate with any of the warning signs above? (Using MoneyGram, offering "free" puppies, asking you to purchase insurance, etc?)

If you don't know them and can't meet the dog personally, we'd say avoid doing business with them! Try looking for a puppy locally or finding a breeder who wants you to meet the puppy prior to purchasing. Good luck!

By Amelia Clarissa Burrell on December 23, 2017 at 6:27 am

I found someone giving a Pug away from free but all I had to pay was 210$ for shipping expenses. It was from Maryland to California. I'm worried it could be a scam because of what the things on here said. He said his wife was sick and in the hospital so he couldn't care for the puppies and I had to send money through western union. I Googled the company that called me and it seemed legit. The man was even willing to pay half to get the puppy to me. Is it a scam??

By on December 26, 2017 at 9:52 am

Hello Amelia,

This situation definitely sounds like a scam - someone requesting Western Union and offering to ship an expensive puppy breed to you for only $210 USD is extremely suspicious. Keep in mind that scammers will use reputable companies' names to add credibility to their story.

We recommend cutting off communication with this person and not paying them. Try finding a puppy locally or going through a rescue in your area to avoid getting caught up in a scam. Best of luck to you!

By Irina Smith on January 11, 2018 at 10:42 pm

We found "harveysfamilybassethound"website. They wanted us to pay by Western Union. There were a lots of mistakes in their writing and miscommunication. They sad that their were located in Michigan and were ready to send us puppy withing two or four days after the payment. Fortunately, next morning, instead of sending them money, we emailed them and told them that we did not want to pay them by "money gram". They did not contact us since ever. That was a SCAM!

By Jozsef on January 18, 2018 at 4:47 pm

Can I do something?? I send money too for them??

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