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Dec-15-2009 17:54printcomments

Scams Target Pet Owners

Puppy Scams Affect Pet Buyers and Sellers.

Puppy scam
Puppy scam
Courtesy: blogs.inlandsocal.com

(LAKE OSWEGO, Ore.) - "Puppy scams" are affecting those looking to buy a new puppy and breeders wanting to sell their cherished lines.

"These scams prey on emotions," said Robert W.G. Andrew, CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington.

"They target consumers looking for a pet they can afford or breeders looking for a good home to send their pups."

Scams Targeting Puppy Buyers

A con artist poses as a breeder and places an ad for inexpensive or free puppies in a newspaper or online classified. The scammer often only communicates through e-mails. The con artist asks the buyer to wire money for shipping, but buyers who send the funds, never receive the puppy.

An Oregon family was looking to welcome two bull dog puppies into their home after losing a family pet in an auto accident. They paid shipping costs via Western Union and later received an e-mail saying they needed to pay for a crate, transfer of ownership and insurance, but 95 percent of these costs would be refunded upon delivery of the puppies. After paying, another e-mail arrived saying the puppies were in California but need funds to cover shots, puppy licenses and state customs, which would be refunded when the dogs arrived. The buyers then realized the situation was a scam and the puppies didn't exist.

To avoid the scam: Deal locally, avoid wiring money and pay when picking up the puppy.

Scams Targeting Puppy Sellers

A dog owner posts a newspaper or online classified ad to sell their puppies. A scam artist poses as a prospective buyer and e-mails the breeder asking for details about the puppies and requests mailing information for sending payment. The scam artist sends a check for more than the asking price and asks the breeder to forward the extra money to a person or company handling shipping. Breeders who deposit the check usually discover that the money never comes, or arrives but is stolen from another person or business's account. The breeder can be responsible for paying back the money to the rightful owner, including the funds they thought were for shipping, but really went to the scam artist.

An Alaskan Labrador breeder selling a litter of pups has been contacted 2-3 times a day by these scams. In some situations, the scam artists try to sound legitimate by talking about how the puppy will play with their children, be loved like a child and that they'll send photos of the puppy at its new home.

Click here for scam e-mail examples.

To avoid the scam: Deal locally, request cash and never forward funds to pay for shipping or other costs.

About your BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington:

Source: Your Better Business Bureau is a not-for-profit organization funded by Better Business Bureau Accredited Businesses. The BBB’s mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. For more information about the services and products provided by your BBB, call 206-431-2222 or 253-830-2924 in Washington, 503-212-3022 in Oregon, 907-562-0704 in Alaska.

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