ALBANY — Sheriff Craig D. Apple is warning people of an online puppy scam were victims pay for dogs that do not exist or are never delivered.
The scam can involve any breed of dog, but the sheriff said the most recent complaints involve miniature dachshunds, corgis, Lhasa apsos and French bulldogs.
The fraud includes legitimate looking websites with photos of the puppies and testimonials of previously “satisfied customers.”
The sites claim the puppies are vaccinated, have registration certificates, vet records and guarantees about the animal’s health.
The victims correspond through emails or phone numbers that stop working once payment has been sent. Payment methods involve gift cards, money orders or Venmo.
The scam can also include fraudulent shipping companies of couriers reaching out to the victim for additional payment related to transportation.
“Those who are looking for a specific dog breed should contact their local veterinarian, local
breed club, animal shelter or rescue group,” Apple said. Animal shelters and rescue groups often have pure breed dogs available. These agencies can also help find a reputable and responsible breeder.”
Whenever possible, meet the dog and breeder in person before making a purchase.