Updated September 13th, 2020
Puppy buying scams are everywhere. They prey on the fact that puppies are hard to get, and very expensive. I’ve showed you before my ways to spot a false puppy advertisement. Now I want to lead you through a current example.
Just try this: google “cavoodle puppies for sale” and look at the results. As of 4 Feb, 2020, the top paid ad on my first page is a scam. It’s the screenshot above.
How do I know? Let’s get dirty. You can apply what I’m doing to any site you’re suspicious of. I’ve done a few for you in the comments section at the end too. You’re welcome to leave a comment about your own experiences too.
This would be fun if real people weren’t getting hurt.
I first visited this site 1 month ago, and the top three puppies were Lulu, Usher and Lux. Today, the top three puppies are Lulu, Usher and Lux.
So either they have a magic serum for stopping puppies growing or they aren’t really selling puppies at all.
If you scroll through the images you’ll notice something odd. The puppies are all in different places. They look more like puppies owned by a lot of different people. You’ll also notice that a lot of the ‘puppies’ aren’t really puppies at all. As Cavoodle owners know, everyone mistakes adults for puppies.
So either they have an amazing variety of homes in which to raise puppies and sell all ages or they aren’t selling puppies at all.
Pick an image, any image, and upload it into images.google.com
You’ll get exact matches at the top, if they exist, and then the ‘visually similar pictures’ shown here. I did it for ‘Lux’.
You can see the original picture top left, but look at all the other ones. When you look at their source you find they come from a puppy seller based in the USA. There’s no doubt that Lux’s image was taken in the same place, where they call this breed the Cavapoo.
So either they’ve found a way to get around Australian quarantine regulations or they aren’t selling puppies at all.
On any dodgy site, it’s always good to see if they’ve just lifted text from somewhere else. I suspect most of these sites are made offshore by people with poor English.
Pick a random line of text, in this case from the Testimonials page and put it into Google surrounded by quotation marks. I did it for: “my husband COULD NOT WAIT to meet Lauren!!”
Needless to say, this testimonial appears elsewhere online on a teacup Poodle site. Testimonials are always dodgy and should make you very wary whenever you see them.
So either they sell puppies to people who cut and paste other people’s testimonials, or they aren’t selling puppies at all.
Try searching the site address goldencavoodles.com in Google or Facebook and once you get past their own listings you’ll find lots of excellent people alerting you that this site is a scam.
You’ll also read tragic stories of someone’s mum, or a friend who was both defrauded and devastated.
Price, Typos, Address
There are a lot of other red flags about this seller that you often see in scams. Each might have an explanation, but so many together…
- Why do the puppies cost less than half of other sellers?
- Why is their site address .com and not .com.au like most Australian businesses?
- Why is there no street address or phone number?
How To Avoid Scams
This article is more than just about one website. It will disappear one day and be replaced by others. It’s the principle I want you to see, and some simple steps to detect fraudulent puppy sellers.
It seems easy, doesn’t it? However, part of the reason these scams are so common is that people making emotional decisions are more likely to be trusting. I suspect we can all be vulnerable at times.
Related: A Problem With Pet Shop Puppies
By Andrew Spanner BVSc(Hons) MVetStud, a vet in Adelaide, Australia. These blogs are from a series regularly posted on email and Twitter. Subscribe via email here to never miss a story!
Have something to add? Comments are welcome below and will appear within 24 hours.
Just a note: I’m happy to look at suspicious sellers for you via the comments but don’t post the full address as it will be blocked by our spam filter (i.e. avoid www or http). Cheers.