If you are searching for a four-legged friend to join your family, be on the lookout for a scam that is on the rise.
Puppies – paid for and promised – sometimes never arrive at your home. Con artists are using dogs as a lure to steal your money online.
If you go online looking for cute puppies for sale, think twice before sending anyone money. Investigators believe at least 80 percent of posts advertising pets on the internet may be fake.
For 71-year-old Vietnam veteran Robert Huffman, the offer he saw on Craigslist for two puppies at a great price (free) was too much to resist.
“They had an ad on Craigslist that showed the people giving away two Yorkie Terriers if you just pay the shipping on them because they just moved to Maryland and couldn’t find an apartment where they would let their dogs stay,” Huffman said.
At first, the seller would only communicate by text. Huffman was told it was $400 to deliver the dogs and payment must be made by Western Union. Huffman sent the money and then got a call saying his puppies will be flying in from Windsor, Md., and needed airline crates. That would cost him another $750.
“And it just kept going from there, you know: our company requires this, and now you have to have life insurance on the puppies which is another bunch of money on it, and this was all supposed to be refundable,” Huffman said.
He followed his instructions from Global Prime Services. And he said the puppies were supposed to be delivered overnight, but they never came.
“I got another text back that said, ‘Sir, we need $700 for vaccines for the shots for the puppies,’ and that is when I said no and texted back and said I am not giving you no more money. I said ‘you have lied to me.’ I said, ‘you were in Corpus Christi, and you wasn’t here so I am not sending you no more money.’ They kept trying and texting me to get more money, and I wouldn’t do it. He said ‘we are going to put your puppies in quarantine, and it will cost you $5,000, and I said no and if that is what you have to do… do that,’” said Huffman.
Huffman said even though he’s out $2,258, he did learn an expensive lesson.
“Please be aware of what is going on,” he said. “They make it sound so good and so easy on what you are going to get, and they end up having all your money.”
The good news, Mr. Huffman did get another dog. He bought a teacup Chihuahua from a local pet store.
Experts recommend you pay by credit card in case you need to challenge the purchase later. They also say you should try to meet with the seller and see the animal in person before you buy.
Puppy scams involve online advertisements designed to trick buyers into paying for dogs that don’t exist.
In many cases, the sellers pretend to be out of state and ask the buyers to pay transport costs.
Sometimes, they go as far as to provide details for a fake courier company.
Once payment is made, the seller disappears, and the puppy never turns up.
Remember, if you are a victim of an Internet imposter, report it.