How to recognize internet scammers when buying a dog or puppy

By Kodichukwu Okonkwo, DVM | November 15th, 2019

There is a wave of make-money-quick going around these days. The internet is full of people promising lots of things to vulnerable users all over the world enticing them with pictures of so much money, exotic cars and a whole lot of things. The truth is that people always want to believe in making money from where they did not “sow” and many want to believe in miracles. The people with this mind set are the most vulnerable, in fact they are the scammer’s target. They want you to be greedy and selfish.

The way it relates to dogs online sale is that they show you pictures of very good looking dogs and tag them with very unbelievably low prices like giveaway. They make it look so authentic that you may never suspect foul play but if you are into the same business you might be able to know at first glance.

There is a scammer we discovered on our platform who uses the name Ubay Bello.  We first suspected he was a scammer from the prices he was tagging the dogs he uploaded on our website. I also recognized the photos he uploaded from my photo search on the internet knowing fully well that he didn’t take them. I tried to call him and as soon as he heard that I was calling from he hung up immediately and the number never went through. We searched the internet and found out he was in many other classified ad websites so we decided to ban him. He actually claimed to be living in Lantang town of Plateau state.

One of our website user called me up one day to signal the same scammer to me telling me his experience with the scammer. He scheduled and came to my office to explain to me how he went to the bank to try and block his account number. He told me how he discovered that the guy does not live in Plateau State but somewhere in Benue State. He also retrieved his real name. The matter has been reported to the police with all the details although I have not got the details of the investigation if there was any.

The Signals

1. They always claim to have all the breed of dogs.

2. They sometimes combine pictures of bulldog and Rottweiler in one advert as Bulldog.

3. They are not usually good with breeds of dogs if you start to ask them about the dogs they have.

4. Their advert pictures are sometimes very inconsistent.

5. When you call them, they will tell you that they are not in your location (even when their advert said they are). They will ask you to pay half of the price to be able to send the puppy so that if you like the puppy you then pay the balance. You never hear from them again when transfer the money.

6. The prices of the puppies are usually unbelievably low and attractive.

7. They can sound genuine and uninterested in selling.

8. They cut communication with you if you tell them you are in their claimed location.

9. They are reluctant to give you their house address and may promise to bring the puppy to your door step. They do not want you to visit them.

10. If they use social media, check their personal page and you will not see pictures of them personally, you will rather see pictures of dogs downloaded from the internet.

Some people called me from our office line to find out more about our sellers. One of our users told me that she was about to transfer the money to a seller, I raised alarm immediately and advised her to see the puppy in real life before paying because she might lose the money.

Scammers have increased online these days and I think it might be because nothing happens afterwards even when reported to appropriate authorities. Most of the scammers that are caught were caught because they scammed a person willing to spend huge resources to clamp them down.  One lady have complained to me of how a law enforcement officer blamed her for sending money, advised her to just see the money as lost and learn her lesson. No investigation was done to avert future occurrence after she reported she believed.

There are so many genuine dog or puppy sellers online and you can actually get exactly what you want from them. They are ready to impress you with their stock when they are good. Other genuine sellers will show you the puppies even before they collect your money. They will always want to do business with you again and will be proud to give you their house or office address.


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    Kodichukwu Okonkwo, DVM

    Founder of Fairvet Animal Clinic Ltd since 2011, studied at the University of Nigeria Nsukka. He is well experienced in small animal, large animal & poultry medicine, and also skilled at zoo medicine. He loves animals and builds both professional and personal relationship with pet owners in order to sustain a good interaction with pet and animal owners, coupled with His great skills in programming; he brought about which he personally built from scratch.

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