The good news, if you're a dog lover, is that according to the American Kennel Club (AKC), puppy buying is at an all-time high (especially during the holiday season) so it’s not really surprising that you or someone you know may be on the search for a new dog right now. The bad news is, as puppy buying rises, so do puppy scams.

Puppy scams in Illinois and elsewhere are nasty, cruel hoaxes that often leave the victim(s) emotionally devastated, especially when there are kids involved. To make matters worse, those who get taken in by a puppy scam are often losing some serious money to the perpetrators.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Rockford BBB Says That Puppy Scams Make Up 25% Of All Reported Online Fraud, And Puppy Scams Are Projected To Grow By 18% Over The Next Year

For those unfamiliar, let's define exactly what a puppy scam is. The AKC explains it this way:

Puppy scammers post fake litters online or pretend to be someone they’re not (usually an existing breeder) to take advantage of puppy sales (sans the puppies.) This means that if you aren’t careful, you could find the perfect puppy, send the ‘breeder’ your money, and never receive a puppy or any follow-up communication in return.

While many times these fake listings appear on websites like Craigslist, some scammers find ways to position themselves as reputable breeders by stealing personal info from them.

Scammers aren't trying this with every single breed of dog, but reports indicate that at least 40 breeds have been used to bait people in to a puppy scam. The most popular puppy breeds that scammers use to snare a victim are these:

French Bulldog puppy playing with her dog toy in the living room, England
French Bulldog puppy. (Getty Images)
Beautiful Yorkshire terrier playing with a ball on a grass
A wildly adorable Yorkie puppy. (Getty Images)
10 week old miniature dachshund puppy
A dachshund pup. (Getty Images)

So, How Many People Get Taken By Puppy Scams, And What Kind Of Money Are We Talking About Here?

According to estimates by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), nearly 10,000 scam reports and complaints have come in during the last three years about “businesses” selling puppies and dogs. The FTC estimates that only about 10 percent of victims report these crimes, so this number could really be much higher than that.

As to the money lost on average to a puppy scam, the Rockford BBB's Dennis Horton says:

Average monetary losses are climbing, with an average loss of $850 in 2022, up 60% since 2017. These scams remain consistently profitable for scammers because their multi-tiered setup allows them to convincingly go back to a consumer several times to ask for money.

This guy gives you a good look at how the puppy scam works, and what you can do to avoid it if you're in the market for a new puppy at your place.

KEEP LOOKING: See What 50 of America's Most 'Pupular' Dog Breeds Look Like as Puppies

RANKED: Here Are the 63 Smartest Dog Breeds

Does your loyal pup's breed make the list? Read on to see if you'll be bragging to the neighbors about your dog's intellectual prowess the next time you take your fur baby out for a walk. Don't worry: Even if your dog's breed doesn't land on the list, that doesn't mean he's not a good boy--some traits simply can't be measured.

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