Puppy scam websites stealing thousands of dollars from consumers
Websites where people can go to adopt pets are using Fort Worth, Texas addresses to scam consumers across the Nation out of thousands of dollars, according to Better Business Bureau (BBB).
BBB warns consumers to use caution while shopping online for animals as it uncovered 11 dog breeding websites which were scamming consumers. Within the past four months, BBB received 16 reports claiming payments were provided but the customer never received a puppy.
Fluffy Frenchies, Fluffy Samoyeds, Kingdom Chows, Loyal Chows, Playful Frenchies, Pride Akitas, smiling Samoyeds, Star Chow Chow, Stone Akitas, Sturdy Bulldogs and True Frenchies were among the scammer websites using Fort Worth addresses on their websites and listed similar or identical phone numbers. Furthermore, all the websites were registered to a person based in India.
Many consumers said the websites “seemed legitimate” and that the businesses were responsive through email and would sometimes call them directly. The websites, which are no longer in operation, included several pictures of dogs that BBB later discovered were stock photos used by several other legitimate pet websites.
BBB found that consumers paid the scammer hundreds to thousands of dollars using Google Pay or Zelle. One victim, who wished to remain anonymous, told BBB he paid $699 to Fluffy Samoyeds via Google Pay. He said he received an email on the day his puppy was supposed to fly from Dallas to the Pittsburgh airport. The email claimed that the airport found the dogs crate to be substandard and that an additional $1,900 was required.
Within the last four months, these 16 consumers reported losing over $10,000 to this string of related puppy scams.
Here are some easy steps you can take to avoid becoming victim to this type of scam:
Avoid buying a pet without seeing it in person.
Never send cash via money order or Western Union to a stranger.
Always use a credit card in case you need to dispute the charges.
Do research to get a sense of what a fair price is for the breed you are interested in adopting. Think twice if someone is advertising a purebred dog for free or at a deeply discounted price. It could be a fraudulent offer.