CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) A Charleston woman was shopping for a puppy online but she soon found out it was a scam.
Jeannie Clark bought a Boston terrier puppy from a legitimate local breeder to be a service dog for her husband, but before they found that puppy, an online scammer tried to rip her off.
According to the Better Business Bureau, the online puppy scam is a popular one, and there are other victims in West Virginia.
The scammers advertise puppies they don’t have, sending stock photos and making up vetting information and getting unsuspecting buyers to send a deposit for a puppy they’ll never receive.
“They sent me a puppy that looked like a poodle,” Clark said. She was looking for a small breed of dog. “I said I’d also like to see a picture of the parents. The pictures of the parents were Saint Bernards.”
When Clark started questioning that and some of the other so called facts the individual became defensive.
“He said he could have it to me within four to five hours and with $450,” she said.
As the conversation continued she started seeing more and more red flags. The breeder said they were located in South Charleston, WV but the vet they listed was in New York and the phone number was in Colorado.
“He said why all these questions. Just call them. And I said ‘no thank you I don’t need your puppy’. So I knew it was a scam and I’m so glad I didn’t send him $450.”
Clark hopes her close call will help others.
“Never send any money up front. The thing to do is contact a breeder go meet them face to face and make sure your puppy looks healthy,” Clark said.
She also recommends that people follow up with the veterinarian who has cared for the pet. If you believe you’ve been a victim of a puppy scam you can report your experience to the Better Business Bureau to help inform others.
Another website dedicated specifically to fraudulent pet sales websites is petscams.com.