NEW YORK (NEWS10) — Not everyone appears to be so merry and bright around “the most wonderful time of the year.” According to a report from Veterinarians.org, over 1,400 puppy scams have been reported to the Better Business Bureau this year alone, with that number only expected to increase as the holidays approach.

To come up with their data, Veterinarians.org investigated all U.S.-based scam types that were reported to the Better Business Bureau from January 1, 2022, through October 31, 2022, specifically focusing on the keyword “puppy.” After gathering the data, they were able to compile a list of the top 15 states that lost the most money in puppy scams, and the top 15 states for puppy scams per 100K people. As for the top 10 states that experienced the most puppy scams in the studied time frame, they are as follows:

  1. California – 167
  2. Florida – 113
  3. Texas – 106
  4. Arizona – 55
  5. North Carolina – 53
  6. Colorado – 51
  7. New York – 51
  8. Pennsylvania – 47
  9. Georgia – 46
  10. Virginia – 45

According to the report, more than half (64%) of the total number of puppy scams in the U.S. came from the top 15 states alone. Together, the total loss in puppy scams is over $769,679. As for New York, the total money lost statewide was up to $33,187, with $650.73 on average lost per scam.

The top 10 states for puppy scams per 100k people are the following:

  1. Montana
  2. New Mexico
  3. Colorado
  4. Nebraska
  5. Vermont
  6. Arizona
  7. Delaware
  8. Kentucky
  9. Nevada
  10. West Virginia

Veterinarian.org also is giving out tips to avoid and identify a puppy scam.

  • If the seller tells you you cannot see the puppy in person before adoption, that should be something to be weary of.
  • If the seller asks you to make a payment up front through Western Union, MoneyGram, any type of digital currency exchange app, or gift cards.
  • If the puppy in question is being offered at a significantly steep discount, especially in the case of purebred breeds, that is another red flag to keep in mind.