Question: We want to get a puppy for Christmas and found one online. What do you think about these sorts of transactions?

Answer: To begin, I think puppies as a Christmas present is a colossal mistake (a topic I will cover soon), but there are a world of caution flags around these sorts of transactions. Is it possible to find a puppy online and things to work out well? Yes, but you have to be exceedingly cautious and follow a few rational steps to avoid getting ripped off.

Before buying a puppy, you always want to be able to speak with breeders in person or over the phone.

A common way to get scammed online is fake breeder’s websites. Ads on Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook include scammers disguised as real people who post a dog for sale for whom “they just want to find a new home,” but you pay for shipping. Many online puppy scams begin simply with an advertisement. An adorable puppy complimented with irresistible photos, often at a much reduced rate for what is typically found, because many people are looking for a cheaper price for purebred puppies.

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