Zelle now used in puppy scams

Zelle now used in puppy scams

By Greg Collier

Online puppy scams are probably one of the more heartbreaking scams out there. Victims end up paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for a puppy that doesn’t even exist.

Typically, scammers will set up a website that makes it appear as if they’re breeders of purebred puppies. These websites are filled with pictures of puppies that are stolen from various places on the internet. The puppies on these websites are usually advertised at well below market value prices. After the victim sends money to the scammers, thinking they’ve bought a puppy, the scammers will start asking for more money disguised as expenses. Sometimes the scammer will say they need the money for a special shipping crate for the puppy. Other times it will be for taxes or insurance. But in all cases, the victim never receives a puppy, and they’ve lost a substantial amount of money.

This recently happened to a couple from San Jose, California. They found a website that specialized in Pomeranians. They thought they were buying the puppy for $600 from a breeder in Texas. After they made their first payment, they were then asked for an additional payment of $1400, so the puppy wouldn’t have to spend two weeks in quarantine. The couple paid that fee as well. The scammers came back for a third time asking for $1300. That’s when they realized they were being scammed.

One of the alleged scammers has been arrested. What we found most interesting about this scam is that the scammer is accused of opening multiple Zelle accounts through multiple banks. This was said to be the way the scammer collected the money from their victims. As has been previously mentioned, since Zelle offers little protection to its users, it’s become the payment method of choice for scammers. Once scammers get their money from their victims on Zelle, they can block the victim, and close the account. This leaves victims with little to no recourse.

As we like to remind our readers, Zelle is only supposed to be used between friends and family as an easy method of payment. It shouldn’t be used for major purchases like a puppy.

And as far as puppy scams go, never buy a puppy sight unseen. Also, try to shop local from a licensed breeder. And as always, we recommend considering adopting a puppy from your local shelter instead. This can often be done with minimal or no cost. Some shelters even have waiting lists you can sign up for if you’re looking for a certain breed.