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  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 5, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , puppy scam,   

    Puppy scammers FaceTime victim 

    Puppy scammers FaceTime victim

    By Greg Collier

    Scams are like a virus. They’re always adapting and mutating into new variants where they look to get a new advantage over their victims. And also, like a virus, scammers do not care who they have to hurt to get what they want.

    For example, a woman from Connecticut wanted to get a puppy for her children for Christmas. She found someone claiming to be a local breeder. The victim did her due diligence as she paid a service to make sure the alleged breeder wasn’t using a fake identity, and everything seemed to check out. Several conversations took place between the victim and the breeder. The breeder even FaceTimed with the victim, showing the victim a litter of puppies. Convinced that the breeder was legitimate, the victim sent payment to the breeder.

    When it came time to pick up the puppy, the breeder is said to have started giving excuses. The breeder claimed that one of the puppies had a fever, and then that one of the breeder’s other dogs had to go see an emergency vet. Then the breeder claimed that they were in the hospital before telling the victim it wasn’t the right time to give the victim the puppy. Then all communication was cut off and the victim never got a puppy nor a refund.

    What’s particularly disturbing about this variant of the puppy scam is that the scammer used actual puppies in the scam. Usually in a puppy scam, the puppies don’t actually exist. It’s harrowing to think where the scammer may have obtained these puppies and what they intend to do with them after the scam runs its course.

    If you’re in the market for a puppy, try to deal only with local and licensed breeders. This breeder may have been what they call a ‘backyard breeder’ who are unlicensed breeders that often have no regard for the health conditions of their animals.

    But as always, we highly recommend adopting a puppy from your local animal shelter. 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. Also, don’t let the shelter stigma convince you that all shelter dogs are problems. Many of them are there through no fault of their own and would make a great addition to any household.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on December 10, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , puppy scam, ,   

    Will Zelle replace gift cards in online scams? 

    By Greg Collier

    Just yesterday, we were talking about gift cards and how they’ve been the payment avenue of choice for most scammers. Well, if current trends continue, the mobile payment app Zelle may start catching up to gift cards. By now, you’re probably familiar with the bank impersonation scam that uses Zelle. This is when a victim receives phony texts and phone calls that say the victim has fraudulent activity in their bank account. The scammers direct the victim to use Zelle to protect their account when, in reality, the scammers are directing victims to send all their money to the scammers through Zelle.

    Now, it seems that scammers are starting to use Zelle as they used to use gift cards. For example, a woman from Baltimore was trying to buy a puppy online. Unfortunately, she fell for the puppy scam. The puppy didn’t actually exist, and the scammers kept asking for more money for such things as special delivery crates and customs fees. You can read more on how to avoid puppy scams here. Anyway, the point being that the victim made all the payments through Zelle to her scammers. Historically, scammers like this would ask for payment in gift cards by making the victim read the numbers from the back of the gift card. As we’ve mentioned before, Zelle has a reputation for not offering many protections when it comes to getting scammed.

    Previously, it seems that banks only issue refunds to scam victims after the victims get their local media involved. However, there is another way where you can possibly get your money back if you’ve been scammed over Zelle. According to a consumer protection news report out of New York City, you’ll have the best chance of getting a refund from your bank if you file a police report, and report the scam to the bank within 60 days. Now, this is no guarantee you’ll receive a refund since many banks tell their customers that when using Zellee, the customer is responsible for all transactions including scams.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on November 5, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , puppy scam, ,   

    Puppy scam back in time for holidays 

    Puppy scam back in time for holidays

    By Greg Collier

    With the holidays approaching, many people may be looking to add a new pet to their families. These same people may also not be aware of the pitfalls that await them when trying to buy a puppy online. When online puppy scams first started they were simple. The scammer would place an online ad for a trendy breed of puppy for sale, where the price would be well below market value. The victim would send their money for the puppy, but the puppy would never show up because the puppy never existed. While this scam is generally the same, in more recent times, scammers have added extra steps to try to get their victims to pay even more money.

    For example, a Michigan woman was scammed out of $5300 when she fell victim to a puppy scam. Not only did the scammer ask for the price of the puppy, but also said there were additional fees for shipping the puppy. This included shipping insurance, vaccines, and housing among other charges. More often than not, scammers will also try to charge victims for a special shipping crate. The victim was also instructed to send all payments through the Zelle app, which we know now doesn’t have the best protection when it comes to scammers.

    If you are thinking about getting a puppy this holiday season, please take the decision seriously. Depending on the breed, some dogs can live as long as 20 years. Getting a puppy is something you and your family should be physically and financially ready for. Too many people who adopted pets during the pandemic ended up leaving them at shelters and abandoning them.

    However, if you have given this decision serious thought, try to avoid buying a puppy online. Scammers often set up phony websites with stolen pictures of puppies to make it look like they are legitimate breeders. Your best bet is to stick with a local breeder. Make sure that the breeder is licensed, as backyard breeders often sell puppies that have terminal illnesses like parvo.

    But before you head to your local breeder, we ask that you stop at your local animal shelter or humane society first. More often than not, you can adopt a dog, puppy or even a cat at little to no cost, and many shelters have already given the animals their first set of shots. Shelter dogs get a bad rap because too many people think that they’re problem dogs, but in most cases they’re at the shelter through no fault of their own.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 29, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , backyard breeders, parvo, , puppy scam, , sick puppy   

    Family loses thousands after buying ill puppy 

    Family loses thousands after buying ill puppy

    By Greg Collier

    Typically, when we talk about puppy scams, we’re talking about the kind where the puppy doesn’t actually exist. In this scam, con artists put up fake websites and ads advertising popular puppy breeds at cut rate prices. Once a victim makes a payment for the puppy, the scammers will then start asking for more money for things like insurance and specialized travel crates. Finding out that you’re not getting a puppy after paying thousands of dollars is heartbreaking in itself, but there’s an even more heartbreaking scam that involves puppies.

    Unfortunately, this other scam involves actual puppies. There are backyard breeders and puppy mills that will happily take your money by selling you a terminally ill puppy. This happened recently to a family in Arizona who bought a Heeler-Lab puppy for $250. From we understand, this breed of puppy can go for upwards of $1,000. The family picked up the dog from the seller at a local McDonald’s. After they got the puppy home they discovered that the puppy had ticks and fleas. After taking the puppy to a vet, it was discovered that the puppy had the deadly parvovirus, better known as just parvo. The family took out a loan so they could pay for the $3,000 treatment. Sadly, the puppy’s condition worsened in the coming days. Further treatment would have cost $25,000. The family had to make the difficult decision to have the puppy put down.

    As with a number of online scams, anyone can put up a website or Craigslist ad and call themselves a breeder. However, if the puppy is being sold for well below market value, that could be a red flag that something’s not on the up and up. If you can’t go physically see the puppy before purchasing that may also be an indicator that something could be wrong with the puppy. If the seller asks you to meet at a location like a fast food parking lot, that could be another indication of a bad breeder.

    As always, we recommend going to your local animal shelter to adopt a pet. You’d be surprised what breeds you might find at the shelter. Also, not every shelter dog has been abused or has trust issues. A great deal of them have just been surrendered by their owners for various reasons. Many shelters have waiting lists for certain breeds in addition to being able to adopt the puppy for no or low cost. Maybe even consider adopting an adult dog instead as they need homes too.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , puppy scam,   

    Victim drives from Las Vegas to LA in puppy scam 

    Victim drives from Las Vegas to LA in puppy scam

    By Greg Collier

    A woman from Las Vegas was recently looking to add a Golden Retriever puppy to her home. Her 12-year-old Golden Retriever had recently passed away. She went to her local shelter but no Golden Retriever puppies were available for adoption. That’s when she decided to go online in search for a new addition to her home.

    She came across the website of someone claiming to be a breeder from Los Angeles. The breeder told the woman that there’s only one puppy left from the litter and the cost was only $500. She paid the breeder in advance and drove to Los Angeles that day to pick up the puppy. Sadly, the LA address she was given was for a house that was up for sale that no one was living in.

    Now, put yourself in this woman’s shoes for a moment. Imagine making the 4-hour+ drive from Las Vegas to Los Angeles anxiously thinking you’re about to add a new puppy to your life only to find out you’ve been scammed. Then you’d have to deal with that crushing disappointment all the way through the drive back to Las Vegas. Meanwhile, a scammer is off somewhere with your $500.

    Anybody can put up a website with some pictures of puppies they’ve stolen off the internet and call themselves a dog breeder. This has become a common occurrence among people who have looked to purchase a puppy for their families.

    To better protect yourself when buying a new pet, only deal with local breeders or shelters. Fake breeders who claim to be out of state will often try to milk their victims for as much money as possible for things specialized delivery crates and pet delivery insurance. In most cases, the puppy never existed to begin with. If you can’t see the puppy face to face in real time, there’s a good chance you’re being scammed.

    Even though the victim was not able to find the breed of her choice at her local shelter, we still recommend going to your local shelter anyway. Many shelters have waiting lists for certain breeds in addition to being able to adopt the puppy for no or low cost. Maybe even consider adopting an adult dog instead as they need homes too.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , puppy scam,   

    Puppy scams are wrecking the holidays 

    Puppy scams are wrecking the holidays

    Before we get to the heart of the matter, please don’t buy a pet for someone as a surprise gift. Any pet is a responsibility that should be taken seriously and not done as a whim.

    Now it seems between COVID and the upcoming holidays, puppy scams are becoming more and more common. The most typical puppy scam is when you buy a puppy online and the supposed breeder keeps hitting you with fees and expenses. Often the scammers will say they need extra money for insurance, shipping, or a special crate that the puppy needs. Other times, they’ll ask for extra money for supposed problems that have come up in shipping or supposed medical needs for the puppy. Then not only is the puppy never delivered, but it also doesn’t even exist. Recently, there seems to be a rash of these kinds of scams. We’ve seen reports from people who have lost $300 to someone who lost $9000.

    Just because someone has a website and claims to be a breeder, that doesn’t make them one. Scammers can have a website set up in minutes with pictures of dogs that they pulled off of Google Image Search.

    Your best bet is to always shop local from a reputable breeder. Do your research before purchasing a pet. Do a web search with the breeder’s name and the words ‘fraud’ or ‘scam’ to see if there have been any complaints against them. A reverse image search can often tell you if a fake breeder is pulling images off of other websites which is a definite indicator of a scam. Avoid any offers that are below the usual price for that particular breed. That’s how scammers often lure in their victims.

    As always, we recommend adopting a pet from your local shelter. Some shelters even have waiting lists if you’re looking for a particular breed. If you’re not looking for a particular breed we still recommend visiting your local shelter. Not only will you save a lot of money but you never know which animal there will capture your heart.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 9, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , puppy scam,   

    Family loses puppy to illness in Craigslist scam 

    Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve been warning consumers about one version of the puppy scam. This is where phony online dog breeders will sell you a puppy that doesn’t actually exist. After they’re paid, the scammers will start asking for more money in the form of things like shipping fees or special travel crates. Even though a victim may lose hundreds or thousands of dollars, at least an animal isn’t being actually abused.

    Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the second type of puppy scam. This is where people will breed puppies with little regard for the animal’s health and well-being. The animals are often bred in squalid conditions without receiving any medical care. The term backyard breeder is often used to describe these scammers as they are usually not certified to be actual breeders.

    One family in North Carolina recently purchased a puppy from a Craigslist seller for $300. When asked about shots, the sellers told the family that they did the shots themselves because they didn’t want to take the puppy to the vet due to COVID-19 concerns. Once the family got the puppy home it became obvious that something was wrong. The family took the puppy to the vet where it was diagnosed with hookworms, roundworms, and anemia. Within less than 24 hours of bringing the puppy home, the puppy had to be put down. When the family tried to contact the seller, the phone number had already been turned off.

    As always, when it comes to adding a new pet to your family we recommend adopting from your local shelter. More often than not, not only will the animals have had competent medical care but the odds are they’ll be with your family for quite some time. If you decide to buy from a breeder, make sure they are a licensed breeder that’s in your area.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 4, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , puppy scam,   

    Don’t ignore red flags in puppy scam 

    Don't ignore red flags in puppy scam

    As has been previously stated, puppy scams are on the rise due to the number of people looking for new companions during the current pandemic. Online puppy scammers will create legitimate-looking websites while posing as puppy breeders. The scammers will offer purebred puppies at well below market prices. After the victim pays the initial fee, the scammers will start asking for more money for things like shipping fees and specialized travel crates. Even if the victim pays for all of these supposed services, they never receive a puppy because the puppy never existed in the first place. While these may seem like reasonable charges on the surface, they are red flags indicating the scam. However, sometimes even the most obvious red flags can be ignored.

    Recently, in Louisiana, a woman was looking for a new Yorkie puppy. She found an online listing for Yorkies and was asked to send in payment for the puppy. She was asked to send the payment to somewhere in Africa. With all due respect to the countries of Africa, there are two African countries that are synonymous with scams. The most infamous one is Nigeria where a multitude of overseas scams take place. This is where the legendary Nigerian Prince scam or 419 scam comes from. The second and somewhat lesser-known country is Cameroon. In earlier days of the internet, the puppy scam was known as the Cameroon puppy scam due to the number of puppy scams originating from the country.

    Sending money overseas for a puppy is a huge red flag that you’re being scammed. If you want to avoid being scammed when looking for a new pet avoid using non-local breeders. Even if you find a local breeder online, do a reverse image search of their animals to make sure the images weren’t stolen from other websites. If you have your heart set on a purebred, you can’t cheap out. Pets listed at below market value online are usually either non-existent or it’s a ‘backyard breeder’ that is potentially selling dying animals.

    As always, we recommend adopting a pet from your local animal shelter. Some shelters even have waiting lists if you’re looking for a particular breed. If you’re not looking for a particular breed we still recommend visiting your local shelter. You never know which animal there will capture your heart.

     
  • Geebo 8:58 am on August 4, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Little Rock, , puppy scam,   

    Airports do not have pet departments 

    Airports do not have pet departments

    The Better Business Bureau is saying that they’ve seen a dramatic increase in the amount of puppy scams that have been happening since the start of the global pandemic.

    If you’re unfamiliar with the puppy scam, it’s when scammers will advertise puppies for sale online but the puppies don’t exist. A good way to tell if an online ad for a puppy is a scam is if the supposed breeder is advertising the puppy for much less than what the breed normally costs.

    Once you’ve paid for the puppy, the scammers will start adding on extra charges. Often they’ll claim it will be for things like special shipping crates or customs fees.

    Recently, the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock, Arkansas has been reporting a number of people calling to speak to the airport’s pet department. Commercial airports like this don’t have pet departments. Often, the scammers will pose as an airport’s non-existent pet department to try to claim additional payment from the scam’s victims.

    This scam starts with the official-looking websites scammers have that make it look like they’re legitimate dog breeders. A great way to see if a breeder’s website is a fake is to do a reverse image search to see if the pictures of the puppies appear anywhere else on the internet. Scammers will take pictures from off of Google Image Search since they don’t have any actual puppies.

    As we always suggest when shopping for a new pet, the best way to protect yourself is to adopt from your local shelter. Many shelters have lists you can sign up for if you’re looking for a specific breed. Not only is this more cost-effective but you’re also helping the shelters continue to in assisting their efforts.

    But if you have your heart set on a certain breed, buy from local dog breeders. Even then, do your research on the breeder to make sure they’re raising their animals humanely. Unfortunately, there are too many ‘backyard breeders’ who are looking to make money quick by selling sick pets.

    Adding a pet to your life is a life-changing event and you should be properly prepared for such a momentous occasion.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 29, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , puppy scam,   

    Scammers target man whose dog passed 

    Puppy scammers still finding victims during pandemic

    Adopting a pet into your home is a great way to deal with not only loneliness but also anxiety and depression during the current crisis. That’s exactly what one Los Angeles-area man wanted to do especially after losing his beloved canine friend of 16 years.

    The man was looking to adopt a Rottweiler puppy but found the prices from breeders to be too high at $3,000 to $4,000. Unfortunately, the man turned to one of the worst places you can go to adopt a pet, Craigslist.

    The man found a listing for Rottweiler puppies but the people giving them away were supposedly in Montana. The person claiming to give the puppies away said they had to because their son was a breeder who died from cancer. All the man had to do was pay $280 to an alleged shipping company called Blessing Air Movers. When the payment through an online app didn’t go through, the movers asked for payment in Walmart gift cards. Then the shipper asked for more money for a special crate to ship the puppy in. Of course, the puppy never came and probably never existed.

    While our hearts break for this man, the number of red flags in this scam may have set some type of record.

    For example, when adopting a pet, you should try to only deal with local breeders. Fraudulent out of state shipping costs are a hallmark of this scam. The scammers also had a sob story for why the puppies were being given away at such a discounted rate. These stories are used in several scams and often involve a relative dying or a military member shipping out among others. Then there’s the shipping company that uses a vaguely religious name. Many scammers use religious subtext in their scams either to gain the trust of someone of that religion or just to appeal more trustworthy in general. Both payment options of a cash app or gift cards should have also been red flags as these are often used by scammers to receive untraceable or unrecoverable payments. And lastly, if you find yourself having made a payment to a potential scammer and they keep asking for more money to rectify the situation, it’s more than likely a scam.

    As always, we recommend adopting a pet from one of your local shelters. As even mentioned by the SPCA of LA in the article, shelters will often have purebreds in their population. Some even have reservation lists if you’re looking for a particular breed. Not to mention that the cost will probably be minimal or even free.

     
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