Puppy And Vacation Rental Scams

Two scams are making their rounds that you should be aware of, the puppy scam and the vacation rental scam.

Puppy Scam

This scam usually involves an email, sent to your inbox advertising a cute, adorable puppy around 6-8 weeks old that needs a warm, loving family to take care of him or her. For a nominal fee they will send that puppy to you. Beware, generally speaking, if you make a payment to the seller, there will be additional payments forthcoming to you for vet bills, shipping, crating, various other fees associated with the puppy. Until you pay these assorted fees, the seller will not ship the puppy. This is assuming that the puppy exists.

Key things you should be aware of:

  • If the seller is asking you to send money via MoneyGram or Western Union, it’s probably a scam.
  • When you contact the seller, you should get the following information about the seller, such as, his or her full name, the location of the seller’s business address, and his or her phone number. Then, run a google search on this information to find out if the seller actually exists and whether anyone has filed or lodged a complaint against him or her.
  • Is the puppy registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC)? All breeders and sellers of dogs should provide the you ( the buyer) of the animals with registration paperwork from the American Kennel Club (AKC). This paperwork will identify at a minimum the breed of the puppy, whether the parents of the puppy are registered, and show all shots given, including the rabies vaccine to the puppy. Many times, sellers attempt to sell puppies without paperwork, and try to pass off so-called strays as pure breeds to the unexpecting.
  • An alternative you may want to think about if you’re really interested in having a puppy is going to your local animal shelter. Your local humane society has an assortment of dogs, various ages from newborn puppies to maybe six-year old dogs that need a loving home and I would suggest you think about adopting one of these dogs. It may only cost you a fee for shots, but at least you’ll be able to see the dog, interact with the dog, and determine whether the dog is right for you.

Vacation Rental Scam

This is where someone will approach you, whether through email or through advertisement, adverting a rental property for rent for a specific timeframe. Generally speaking, what you should be aware ofand what you should do is the following when you are contemplating renting vacation property:

  • You should get the full address of the property location, and then try to Google it to determine it does exist.
  • If you are renting a rental property, you should ask to view the lease agreement.
  • Review the lease agreement and ask any questions about the property, such as, its condition, and accommodations.
  • Be aware, if the potential owner or landlord of the vacation property attempts to pressure you with high pressure sales tactic and say, “Hey, you must send money now to reserve the rental.” Especially if he or she wants you to send the money immediately through Western Union or MoneyGram … walk away. It’s not worth it. He or she is probably a scammer.
  • Always do your research before you forward any money to the potential owner or landlord of a vacation rental. If the rental price offered is substantially below the going rate in the market, do more research. It could be a scam, and you may be dealing with a scammer.

If you have further questions, contact me at [email protected], or you can contact me directly at (651) 243-3367.

Donald Hedervare
About the Author: Donald Hedervare
Donald J. Hedervare, Jr. has been practicing in the areas of bankruptcy law, student loan law and military justice for 17 years. He is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association, the Ramsey County Bar Association, and the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.