Mark Herring

Virginia's Attorney General Warns of Purebred Puppy Scams

Virginia’s attorney general warned residents of ongoing scams claiming to sell purebred puppies online.

The Attorney General’s Office began receiving complaints after consumers failed to receive the pets they purchased from scammers posing as Virginia-based dog breeders, Attorney General Mark Herring said in a statement Wednesday.

"Unfortunately, we've seen an increase in complaints about these puppy scams, and I urge all Virginians to give careful consideration to all large purchases made online, particularly if the terms seem too good to be true," Herring said.

In addition to the initial payment, victims were asked to pay for “transportation insurance,” before their pet could be delivered.

Red flags consumers should be aware of include:

  • Purebred dogs being sold significantly cheaper than competitors.
  • The company representative has a generic email account.
  • The seller says the animal will be transported via air travel and asks for nearby airports to you.
  • Previously undisclosed fees are requested following the initial transaction.

Additionally, the attorney general’s office recommends precautionary steps for consumers, such as seeing an animal in person before committing to a purchase, seeking referrals for pet sellers from sources you trust and searching for the business’ name in the Attorney General’s Online Consumer Complaint Database.

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