BBB issues alert about online puppy scams

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — The Better Business Bureau has issued an alert for puppy scams.

If you plan on shopping online for a pet this holiday season, officials urge you to watch out for scams.

One BBB study founds many of the ads fraudulent and anyone looking online for a pet is more likely to encounter one.

According to Kelvin Collins, Better Business Bureau president of Middle Georgia, in the last three years BBB received nearly 16,000 complaints. Scam Tracker received reports from consumers about “businesses” selling puppies and other pets.

Collins says, “In 60% of reports regarding dog sellers, people never received the pets they purchased.”

How the Scam Works

  • You find a puppy on a website or an online ad. Sometimes, scammers pose as breeders or pet sellers. Other times, they pretend to be a distraught pet owner who must find a new home for their beloved dog.
  • Once you inquire about the pet, the scammer asks you to wire money through such services as Western Union or MoneyGram to complete the purchase.
  • The “seller” then promises to ship the pet right away.
  • Then “unexpected problems” arise. Scammers use a variety of excuses, such as the airline requires a specific pet crate or the shipper requires costly pet insurance — all of which need to be paid in advance.
  • With each problem, the scammer promises a refund for unexpected costs as soon as your pet is delivered. In many cases, the buyer receives no refund and no pet.

For more information and to report a scam, click here.