“It’s hard, I saved for almost a year to get that dog,” victim Kerri McIntosh said.
HOUSTON — Many of us would love a new puppy for the holiday season, but beware! Puppy scams are everywhere these days, stealing money and breaking hearts.
Kerri McIntosh is a dog person, who couldn’t help but fall in love when she found a Doberman puppy for sale in a dog lovers group on Facebook.
“[The breeder] said this is the price, it includes shipping, it is $1,300,” McIntosh told Don’t Waste Your Money.
But as soon as she sent the money using a digital payment app, the breeder needed more. McIntosh was told to send over $750 for a crate and then hundreds more for vaccinations, insurance and even a permit.
McIntosh had already invested so much, so she kept paying until she had sent over $4,800. As soon as she sent it, the supposed breeder disappeared.
“It’s hard, I saved for almost a year to get that dog,” McIntosh said.
McIntosh is the latest victim of a puppy scam that also took $800 from Denise Alvarez, who tried to buy a Havanese puppy from a breeder website.
“My husband and I looked at each other and said ‘Christmas is going to be very slim this year,'” Alvarez said.
The Better Business Bureau has issued an alert about puppy scams,
saying it has received several thousand complaints nationwide since the pandemic began.
Experts suggest these tips for protecting yourself:
- Buy from a local breeder
- Google a breeder for reviews and complaints
- Pay with credit card and never through Cash App, Zelle or Venmo
- Ask the breeder to do a video chat with them holding the puppy
“Ask the seller to do a video call or a Face Time, just to make sure that the breeder is real and that the pet is real,” Sara Kemerer with BBB said.
A scammer, typically using stolen photos, can’t do that.
Finally, don’t fall in love with a puppy photo you find online. That puppy may have gone to a home years ago.