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AG Nessel Warns Consumers of Puppy Scams During the Holiday Season

LANSING – As many people look to welcome a new furry friend into their homes and families this holiday season, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is reminding consumers to be aware of puppy scams and tactics scammers can use to exploit them.

In an informational video that is part of the 20 Days of Scams, Attorney General Nessel shares helpful tips on how consumers can avoid becoming the victim of a puppy scam.

“I urge future pet owners to remain extra vigilant and to do their research when purchasing a puppy whether they are shopping online, in store or buying from a breeder,” said Nessel. “Bad actors are always looking for ways to take advantage of consumers.”

Each year, consumers in the U.S. fall victim to the deceptive practices of scammers advertising puppies that do not exist. These kinds of scams usually go unpunished, and victims never get their money back. Scam attempts are likely to increase during the holidays and anyone looking for a pet online may likely come across a scam website. The Michigan Department of Attorney General’s consumer protection unit previously issued tips to help consumers spot and avoid falling victim to these scams. 

  • Research the breed 
  • Research the breeder 
  • Research the advertised puppy 
  • Do not purchase a puppy sight-unseen 
  • Use a credit card to make the purchase
  • Retail all documents and communications from the breeder
  • Consider contacting your local shelter 

Since 2020, the Michigan Department of Attorney General has received 129 complaints of alleged puppy scam – 24 of those from 2022.

For more information and resources for when purchasing a puppy, view the Attorney General’s previously issued consumer alert. Consumers who believe they may have been a victim of a puppy scam can file a complaint with the Consumer Protection team online. 

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