Scheme targets prospective puppy owners

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Buying a new pet for the family can be a difficult and expensive task – but even more so if you fall prey to a pet-buying scheme.

Fraudsters are getting clever by advertising locally when they’re actually operating from another country, and more importantly – there’s no puppy to begin with.

Kellie Bohrer said she was trying to buy a puppy for her brother when she came across an ad selling one for only $320. She contacted the sellers and in return got more cute pictures and a registration certificate, but then the agency called and said they needed another $1,600 for insurance fees – which they assured Bohrer would be returned when she received the puppy.

She waited for the pup to arrive, but all she got was another email asking for more money. The seller said they needed $1,000 because the dog was in Idaho and was in need of vaccinations and a new carrier.

After sending the $1,000 Bohrer again waited, but instead was met with yet another email – this time asking for $4,500.

It turned out that the name of the company on the certificate was legitimate, however the certificate itself was a fake. The Better Business Bureau said schemers will often use the names of real companies to throw you off.

Joy Schick was almost a victim of a similar scheme when she was in the market for Yorkshire Terrier, but fortunately she didn’t take the bait.

“I found this one ad – a Yorkie for $450, which sounded too good to be true,” she said.

Schick sent an email requesting more about the puppy. The owner responded saying they were in Africa, and that Schick would have to wire them money in order to have the dog shipped to the United States.

The Better Business Bureau said if you’re searching for a new pet, always visit the breeder first, beware of breeders who seem overly anxious with getting their money, and don’t be fooled by a slick website or advertisement.

“Treat this as a business transaction. Don’t have an emotional attachment to anything that you’re purchasing,” said FBI spokesperson Dave Joly.

It’s also important to take your time when shopping for a pet. Beware of breeders who claim to have multiple breeds ready to ship, since it’s highly unlikely your perfect puppy will be available to ship the day you call.

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