Better Business Bureau warns of pet scams using puppy photos stolen from social media

CONCORD, California (KGO) — Hoping to cuddle up with a new dog or cat this holiday? The Better Business Bureau reports that more than one in three complaints reported to its scam tracker involve pet sales. Most of them are online scammers.

“You’re such a good girl,” Daphne Wilson said as she hugged her miniature dachshund, Nala.

She wanted to surprise her son Brandon with a dog of her own.

“We found one that actually just spoke his name to us and we thought, ‘Okay, this is him,'” she said.

Wilson found the pet in an online pet store. She sent her 50% deposit and waited for the puppy to arrive at Oakland International Airport.

MORE: Google lawsuit alleges fraud suspect used their platform for pandemic ‘online puppy scam’

“So I waited. Now I waited for the plane. And I looked and then the plane didn’t show up,” Wilson recalled.

Alma Galvan is from the Better Business Bureau.

She says consumers are often tempted with adorable puppy pictures stolen from someone online.

“Many of the scam websites that we see use really, really good, enticing photos. Obviously, we all get hot and fuzzy and sad when we see a real cute puppy,” Galvan said.

Judy Neuhaus found her corgi Abby on a website for sale.

VIDEO: Local pet store caught in alleged puppy fraud

That surprised her because Abby had been euthanized after a battle with cancer.

She thinks someone stole Abby’s photos from her Facebook page.

“It’s humiliating to show my beautiful dog pregnant on a hill so someone can scam people out of money,” Neuhaus said angrily.

The scam doesn’t end there.

The BBB says the scammers require a large down payment.

MORE: Families remember lost pets amid renewed calls for dog training industry regulation

Wilson says the people who sold her a puppy demanded extra money for a special crate and other fees.

18 months later she still hasn’t received her puppy.

“It just keeps happening and happening because people want that puppy so bad,” Galvan explains.

Luckily for Wilson, she understood and didn’t pay the extra fees, but she never received a refund of her deposit.

Check out more stories and videos from Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

The 7OYS Consumer Hotline is a toll-free consumer mediation service in the San Francisco Bay Area. We help private individuals with consumer-related issues; we cannot assist with business-to-business matters, or matters involving family law, criminal matters, tenancy disputes, employment matters, or medical matters. View our frequently asked questions here. As part of our process of assisting you, it is imperative that we contact the company/agency you are writing about. If you do not want us to contact them, please let us know right away as this will affect our ability to work on your case. Due to the high volume of emails we receive, please allow 3-5 business days for a response.


Note: The address uses the letter “O”, no zeros. Be sure to include your full name, email address, address and phone number.

If you’re using the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live

Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. All rights reserved.

Leave a Comment