The last thing you should do is to report a puppy scam to the police!
This may seem counter intuitive however there is a reason for this.The first thing you should do is gather as much information as possible. This is relative even if you have not lost money to the scammer.
Screenshots are good but text is vital. Don’t make people type out the text from a screenshot!
Educate yourself as to how a puppy scam works. You may have experienced it however it is better to know the steps of a pet scam before you try to explain it to someone else.
Gather the following information and keep it in a folder:
- A document with:
- Links to the website/Facebook page/Instagram page/Classified advert that scammed you. This should be in the format HTTP://SOME-SCAM-DOMAIN.COM not “Some Scam Domain”. Also include details of the fake “shipping” website.
- Names, phone numbers and email addresses used by the scammer.
- The text (not screenshots) of your correspondence with the scammer. Do not delete your emails as you may be asked for the full, raw source of the email.
- Full details of any financial transactions with the scammer. Include the amount sent as well as who the receiver was and the method it was sent (WesternUnion/Zelle/Cashapp/Bitcoin etc).
- Screenshots of The website/Facebook page/Instagram page/Classified advert.
File a report with the Better Business Bureau. https://www.bbb.org/scamtracker/us/reportscam
I am using the BBB as an example of a community watchdog however in your country it may be different eg:
Australia – https://www.cyber.gov.au/acsc/report
United Kingdom – https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/
Full list here: Report online crime by country
Keep any correspondence as you may need it later.I cannot overestimate how important it is to do this. Reporting to the BBB will not just help you but will also help stop others from potentially being scammed.
Report to the Federal Trade Commission. https://www.reportfraud.ftc.gov/InformationYour government will not combat fraud if it is not aware it exists. The FTC gathers these statistics and takes action against fraud.Keep any correspondence as you may need it later.
Report this crime to your local police station.
Your local police officer has possibly less experience with Puppy scams as you do.
They may not see it as a criminal act and instead see it as a consumer dispute. Unfortunately you may need to convince them that fraud has occurred. The information you have gathered as well as any correspondence with will be seen as evidence of a crime.
Do not assume that the police officer you are dealing with knows how the scam works!It is not uncommon for us to receive emails from police officers asking how we know it is a scam and how the scam works.
Lastly, you are welcome to report the scam to PetScams.com on our pet scam reporting page.
We will investigate any websites used and publish warnings to inform other possible victims.