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Yorkie Puppy Scams – How to Shop Safely

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The chances of being scammed when buying a Yorkie puppy or any puppy, in general, are unfortunately high. According to a report by BBB data, over10,000 people over the last 3 years have filed a complaint against being scammed when buying a puppy online.

cute yorkie puppy laying down

What’s scary is that the FTC reports that only 10% of the victims report these cases, so the number is even higher. The puppy scams tripled in 2020 because buyers couldn’t see the puppies face to face before buying them due to the pandemic. 

So, the big question is, when looking at websites for Yorkies, how can you tell if they are not scammers? Here’s how you can protect yourself. 

15 Ways on How to Avoid Puppy Scams

Ready to learn how to spot a scam and protect yourself? Let’s dive right in.

1. Request for a Facetime/Video Call

This is one of the easiest and first ways to catch a scammer. If you ask to schedule a video call and your seller starts being sketchy about it, chances are they have no puppies to show. 

However, please don’t stop at this point because I’ve seen people who were scammed even after face-timing the seller. Scammers are getting more creative, and they know that many buyers will ask for a video call, so they’re prepared for it. 

sweet face of Yorkshire terrier puppy

2. Do a Research on the Yorkie Puppy Market Price

We all love a good bargain, and that’s what scammers use against us. They’ll give you ridiculously fantastic and affordable prices compared to the average market price to lure you into their sites. 

Therefore, it’s important to research the average market price before contacting Yorkie puppy sellers. If the standard price of a pure breed is $2,000 and the seller is asking for $200, that’s a major red flag. 

Some scammers also present their lower prices as “discounted” or “negotiable”. Although some breeders do sell some of their pups at a lower price when they think they’re not “show worthy”, they explain it.

For example, a discounted puppy may be neutered or may have some flaws that would not make breeding them a good idea. However, if a Yorkie puppy is being sold at a discounted price and is still described as breed-worthy, it’s probably a dog scam. 

You can see what puppies are going for by checking out the prices on Puppy Spot and Puppy Finder.

3. Be Aware of Scammers Who Prey on Your Emotions

Many animal lovers are empaths, and they’re likely to fall for a sad story. If you come across a sad FB story of why someone is selling or rehoming their pet, it’s easy to fall for it and decide to give the pup a new beginning. 

Most scammers will say they’re moving to a place that doesn’t allow pets, they’ve lost their job, or they’re mourning the death of a loved one who owned the pet. 

While some of these stories are true, it’s still important to verify the information before committing to buying or adopting the said puppy. 

Black Yorkshire Terrier with ball

4. The Price Keeps Changing

Legitimate breeders have all their prices listed on their websites. In addition, when you contact them, they list any extra charges you’ll be required to pay depending on your delivery preferences. All this is stated before signing any contract or deposits. 

However, scammers keep changing the prices every now and then. For example, after paying the deposit, they may ask for $1000 travel insurance or a crating fee of $800.

If you find yourself having to keep sending more and more money that wasn’t mentioned prior, it might be advisable to count your losses as you may lose more in the long run. 

5. Always Buy from Breeders that Have a Refund Policy & Warranty

It’s not uncommon to see something online and like it but realize that it’s not what you expected it to be in real life. This is why it’s important to buy from a seller who’s offering a warranty or refund policy.

Yorkie puppies are costly, and you want to make sure if they arrive, and after a vet evaluation, they end up having health issues, you can return them or be compensated. 

Legitimate Yorkie breeders are confident in their puppies, and they have no problem with warranty and refund policies. They will also have all the answers you might want to know about the history of the Yorkie’s family. 

3 very young Yorkie puppies in basket

6. Ensure You Can Access the Seller by Phone

Most scammers only want to communicate through emails and messages. This is easy as they can use proxy servers to hide their location and create a new identity.

It’s also easy to catch a scammer on a voice call because they might not have answers to questions concerning the history of dogs or knowledge about Yorkies in general. When they can take time to research answers while chatting, calls don’t offer that kind of flexibility. 

If you can’t access your seller by phone, it’s best to try a different seller. 

7. Do a Reverse-Image Search for Animal Pictures

A Google Reverse Image Search is a brilliant way to expose scammers. It allows you to search the Yorkie Puppy images you receive from a breeder to see whether they’ve been posted on any other platform. Since fraudsters usually don’t really have any puppies, they use photos from legitimate sellers on the internet. 

If you search the images and find out that the Yorkie puppy has been listed by someone else, this is a red flag. You can contact the original seller and work with them instead. 

At the very least, let the legitimate breeder know their photos have been stolen.

Yorkie puppy wearing blue striped shirt sitting on bed

8. Buy from a Seller who Breeds Yorkies Only

Some established breeders might be able to breed several dog breeds, but most do not. Most breeders focus on one dog breed. 

Therefore, if possible, buy from websites that only list Yorkies. Most scammers have lots of dog breeds listed on their website to expand their scamming business. 

9. Ask for Documentation or Proof

While scammers might be irritated if you ask for any proof, real sellers are happy to share any proof you may need before buying a puppy.

This may include information about the pup’s parents, health records, and screenings. You should be able to confirm that a licensed vet has examined the Yorkie, and they’re on schedule with their shots depending on their age. 

In addition, remember to ask for your dog’s documentation. If you can’t see the words American Kennel Club or the AKC logo on the paperwork, they might be fraudsters.

Also, if a seller is asking you for money to register your dog or change their ownership, avoid them. 

Two puppies of the yorkshire terrier in basket

10. Buy Your Puppy from Local Breeders

Although buying from local breeders really narrows down your options, it has its benefits in that you can schedule a face-to-face meeting. 

If a local breeder gives you excuses and avoids meeting, this is a major red flag. In fact, now that we have general guidelines on how to stay safe even with a pandemic, all breeders should be open to psychical meetings.

Pupp scams tripled in 2020 because it was impossible to meet the sellers in the middle of a pandemic. Thankfully, this is no longer the case. 

11. Ask for Referrals and Check Online Reviews

The best and most efficient way to avoid getting scammed is by asking for referrals. You can ask other Yorkie parents where they bought their pups and go for sellers with good reviews. 

Luckily, there are so many supportive Yorkie communities across all social media platforms who are happy to help. Join a few Yorkie groups on Facebook and ask there.

After getting referrals, visit the seller’s website and see what the customers are saying about them. If there are any complaints, try out other sellers. 

Yorkshire terrier puppy with pink bow laying in blue blanket

12. Avoid Sellers Who Have no Patience

Scammers are operating at a minimal timeline before you see any signs that they’re scamming you. Therefore, they tend to pressure you to push the process fast and make payments. They’ll either say things like other buyers want to know about the availability of the Yorkie puppies and therefore require a deposit urgently. 

If you’re feeling rushed or anxious by the rate at which the seller is taking the puppy selling process, this might be a red flag.

13. Avoid Sellers with Limited Payment Methods

Scammers are very specific about the means of payment they accept. For example, they may ask you to pay using Western Union or PayPal and indicate that you’re sending money to a friend or relative. This makes it very difficult to reverse the payment once you realize they were just playing mind games. 

They might also not accept credit cards or other payment methods that may protect you against dispute or fraud. 

Parti colored Yorkshire terrier

14. Check for Other Fishy Clues

This might seem petty, and not all cases are true, but it’s still worth verifying a seller when you notice any of the following:

  • Grammatical errors and poor sentence structures on ads. Most legitimate sellers take their time to proofread their copy. They go the extra mile to maintain a good reputation for their brand. 
  • Sellers using free email accounts. Legitimate breeders are more likely to use official emails related to their sites like 
  • Inconsistencies. Regardless of how careful liars are, they’re likely to mess us with details at some point. If a seller gives you a different birth date, name, or any details regarding the puppy, there is a high chance they’re making up the information. 

15. Use Your Gut Feeling

Lastly, before buying your Yorkie puppy, listen to your inner voice. Seriously, we all have it. If everything seems perfect, but you have a strange feeling about the seller, there is a high chance something is off about them. 

There are many legit sellers out there, so you don’t need to work with someone you don’t trust 100%. 

2 small yorkie puppies in grass


If you suspect a seller is a scam or end up being scammed, consider reporting them to help other pet parents. Study shows that many people are so embarrassed when scammed that they never speak up.

Imagine all the people you’d save by sharing your experience, and that will hopefully give you the courage to report the scammer.

There are places you can report them to: (Internet crime bureau from the FBI)

Have you been a victim of Yorkie pup scamming? Please share your experience with us in the comment section to create more awareness. 

Cathy signature with Yorkie drawing


Thursday 28th of December 2023

We had decided to add a Yorkie to our family so I reached out to several posts on Facebook, asking where they were located. Several weeks later, I got a message from one of the ones I’d contacted, who had said he was in Texas. Asking if I was still looking. He had a little female who’d been purchased from him 3 years earlier and had been returned. He went on to say he just wanted a good home for her, so if I’d pay for transport to my location that would be sufficient. I could have her. I asked about PayPal. He said no, but cash app or Venmo would work. $150. He sent pics. Said the air transport guy was a friend, so likely he could have her delivered within a couple days. She was a beautiful dog. So I sent the $150. THEN he came back stating he’d just been advised that an air conditioned crate would be required for safe transport. To the tune of $600 more. It was that expensive bcoz she was a large dog. (?). He assured me that was merely a rental fee and would be refunded to me upon receipt of the pup. I said no. I asked him to return my $150 and just cancel. He said he’d already spent to $150 for the flight and delivered the dog to the flight service. I said the you pay the rental, as it’ll be refunded anyway. He said he didn’t have the funds. How about he’d pay 1/2 and I could pay the other half. I said no. 3 days later I got a message from (supposedly) the guy at the flight service. Even with a pic of a lap with puppy on it, stating puppy had been there since dropped off. Couldn’t we come to an agreement? I said no more money. He told me I was being rude. He hadn’t received any money. Them about 2 weeks later, he contacted again. Says he’s going to go ahead and send my pup. She should be there during that day. THEN he messaged that as the airport was so far from my home, the individual who would be bringing her to my door, would require $130 for his time & travel. When I said that was false, as the airport on question was about 8 miles from my home, I ended the conversation. THEN a couple weeks later o got another message, was I sure we couldn’t work something out? I posted all this on the Facebook site, and while the admin did not make it public, I’ve not seen anything more of that guys name or his Yorkies.

Cathy Bendzunas

Thursday 28th of December 2023

Yeah that's totally a scam. I'm glad you didn't lose more than you did. He would have had been stringing you a long for thousands of dollars if he could.