Buyer Beware: Online Puppy Scams Hitting the Region

They collect large amounts of money from the would–be owner, but many times, the pets do not actually exist

REGIONAL — Technology is a crucial part of our everyday lives but can be dangerous if not used properly.

A recent scam has caught the attention of the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota.

Phony websites have been advertising deals to purchase a new puppy.

“People are praying on people’s compassionate hearts,” said Kish Hilmert, President and Founder of 4 Luv of Dog Rescue.

They collect large amounts of money from the would–be owner, but many times, the pets do not actually exist.

“These scammers now are very good at creating websites they don’t stay in one place too long,” said Dan Hendrickson with the BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “They maybe get a handful of victims and then when you’re making several hundred dollars, or $12,000 a pop, it’s a pretty lucrative business. Even if they have to shut down every couple of weeks.”

Hopeful owners are forking over $700, $800, even $1,200 to scammers in the hope they will be connected with a furry member of the family.

“The problem with these scammers is that they don’t just stop there,” said Hendrickson. “They ask for more money.”

Once they receive the original payment, scammers tack on additional costs for travel, health and additional necessities.

But there is a way to protect yourself.

“It’s never just a quick internet transaction. If it seems like it is, than do more investigation,” explained Hilmert.

Organizations like 4 luv of Dog Rescue have multiple steps that should be taken before any money is put down.

“I would strongly recommend people getting the veterinary information,” said Hilmert. “Check as many references as possible before you’re giving anyone any money.”

The BBB and 4 luv of dog Rescue have some tips to keep you safe from these scammers.

Be deliberate about your pet search; from sellers, to adoption centers and even the type of breed, there should be research done before making a final decision.

And the most important tip?

“Never wire money to someone you don’t know,” said Hendrickson.

It’s a way to get yourself a healthy and happy companion for years to come.

To prevent further instances from happening, take caution and contact local authorities if you feel victimized.

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