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Online Puppy Scams on the Rise, BBB Warns

Online Puppy Scams on the Rise, BBB Warns
(Pjatochka/Dreamstime)

By    |   Thursday, 28 September 2017 09:28 AM

Online puppy scams are on the rise, and Americans are the biggest victims, with tens of thousands of complaints filed, a report by the Better Business Bureau warns.

"Experts believe at least 80 percent of the sponsored advertising links that appear in an internet search for pets may be fraudulent. In fact, it can be difficult to navigate an online search for a pet without coming across a bogus website," the BBC report warns.

The report details the modus operandi of the scammers, who place advertisements for puppies online at discounted prices. Potential buyers are then told to send money through MoneyGram or Western Union to pay for medical treatment, insurance, or to ship the animal from another country.

In one case, an Illinois resident, Danny Shelton, sent $700 through MoneyGram to Atlanta, where he expected to drive to collect a Weirmaraner puppy, Fox News reported. Once the seller negated this suggestion, saying the puppy would be shipped by air and asking for a further $1,400 for insurance, Shelton realized he had been scammed. In another case, a victim was scammed out of $5,000.

The BBB report said that, according to the Federal Trade Commission, most of the American victims are in their 20s or 30s, and the majority of scammers are said to originate from Cameroon in Africa.

Earlier this year, CBS Pittsburgh reported that two African nationals from Cameroon were arrested in Pennsylvania for allegedly running an intra-national online puppy fraud scheme.

Popular dog breeds involved in the online scams include French Bulldogs, Pomeranians and Yorkshire Terriers, according to data on PetScams.com. The site also lists various websites and organizations that have been reported for alleged involvement in fraudulent pet sale.

The BBB’s report contained a strong message of advice for those seeking new furry friends for their families – make sure you see the animal in person first, and never send money to an unknown entity online. They also suggest doing an image search online to ensure that photos of your potential pet are not simply stock images, or aren’t being used elsewhere to scam others.

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Online puppy scams are on the rise, and Americans are the biggest victims, with tens of thousands of complaints filed, a report by the Better Business Bureau warns.
online, puppy, scams, bbb
352
2017-28-28
Thursday, 28 September 2017 09:28 AM
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