According to Google, it’s like figurative catfishing, except with literal dogs. I’m Amy E. Feldman.
Catfishing is when scammers lure the unwary into what they think are real relationships using fake photos of great looking people to convince the victims to send money. Now picture that with pets instead of people.
Google just filed a consumer protection lawsuit against twenty websites it says are fraudulent. According to the complaint, the websites show adorable puppies for sale in order to get people to send money to buy the pets that, of course, never materialized. The suit asks that the sites be shut down.
In case you’re thinking of buying a puppy from an online site, here’s some red flags to watch out for: if there are no calls but all communication is done through email, or if you see the same photo across more than one website, or if you’re asked to wire money or pay by gift card rather than using a credit card, you’re probably looking at a catfish rather than a dog.