(WATE) — Across the country, people buy puppies online daily and scammers know they are capitalizing on the coronavirus pandemic.
One couple believed they were getting a special breed at a great price; however, they were scammed.
Pure bred puppies, especially rare ones, usually sell at premium prices, but if you are in the market and see one online at a discount, you might bite on the offer.
A couple received a video of a Siberian Samoyed, famous for its smile caused by the shape and position of its eyes and slight upturned curve of the mouth. They found the puppy on RoyalSamoyedPuppies.com, which the Better Business Bureau has placed an alert on the site.
A number of different puppies are pictured, all around the same age and all at the same low price for the breed, $650.
“It is a great looking website. The only thing I saw wrong with this site is there is no address information on the site.”Tony Binkley – BBB President
A couple from Blount County told the BBB they fell in love with one of the puppies based on the pictures sent to them. After messages were exchanged, they were sold that dog at a great deal.
“They made an agreement to buy the puppy for $800, which was $650 for the puppy, $120 for shipping and $30 for the paperwork.”Tony Binkley
A week or so went by when they were sent video of their puppy in a crate, and were told, “hey, more money is needed.”
“They got a call from the shipping company, they say we have to have a special air-cooled crate for the puppy, and that’s $1,250.”Tony Binkley
The money was then sent by Moneygram.
“The worst part was the next day, the shipping company called back and said we have to have a larger crate. We need another $1,250. It was a five pound puppy.”Tony Binkley
Apparently the larger crate was needed to protect the puppy from the coronavirus.
“That COVID-19 twist on this is special crating, special insurance now with COVID-19. They’re trying any way they can to get additional money.”Tony Binkley
At that point the loyal couple took a breath, realized they lost a good bit of money, but weren’t going to lose any more.
At the BBB WATE called the number listed on the site, and the number is no longer in service.
Warnings from the BBB & PetScams.com
- It’s likely the images were stolen from genuine breeder websites
- Legit breeders will not sell their puppies for rock bottom prices
- Written communication is filled with poor grammar
- There is no physical address for the website
- When the puppy is shipped, the cost will go even higher
The key here is to shop local.
“There are a lot of shelters that have puppies, breeders locally. I would always recommend to just lay eyes on it yourself, or if you have a friend in the area to lay eyes on it for you.”Tony Binkley
This is a common hoax, with the same outcome, money spent, but no puppy. The scammer will usually correspond by email.
If they do actually speak, they’ll often have a foreign accent, this according to Federal Trade Commission reports.
Many scammers will also provide an extensive list of testimonials on their websites. There is nothing wrong with that, but they’re often glowing reports, and with no way to confirm their legitimacy, you should question its authenticity.
If the puppy you’re looking for cannot be found locally, and if you see online one that you like, check with the BBB and ask about the site’s record.