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Dog scammer gets thousands

Shelley Polansky
Better Business Bureau

Victoria fell in love with a Yorkie puppy she found online. The best part was that the puppy was free — all she had to do was pay for shipping. That’s when the scam began.

Delta Pet Shipping Service, allegedly based in Sterling, required payment in advance and kept adding on charges. Before she realized she had been conned, Victoria gave the shipping service nearly $2,250.

Puppy scams abound online, where scammers can easily post pictures of adorable doggies available at little or no cost. As in Victoria’s case, the “breeder” or owner of the dog only communicates by email, text or electronic messaging — seldom by phone. Payment must be made by wire transfer, Green Dot MoneyPak card or other forms of electronic payment that are virtually untraceable. Buyers are hit up for shipping fees, crate fees, vet bills and assorted expenses that must be paid before the pet is delivered.

The Better Business Bureau serving northern Colorado and Wyoming offers the following tips to avoid scams when you’re looking to adopt or buy a pet:

Beware of ads and correspondence with multiple misspellings and grammatical errors; many pet scams come from overseas, and scammers often do not have a firm grasp on the English language.

Do not send or wire money to people you do not know.

If purchasing a pedigreed pet, be sure the breeder provides documentation of the parents’ registration with the appropriate kennel club. This ensures that the pet is in fact a legitimate purebred animal. It is then your responsibility to register your pet with the appropriate kennel club. Check the breeder out first at http://bbb.org.

Check with your local Humane Society chapter and rescue shelters for dogs looking for “furever” homes.

As for Victoria, she never received her puppy, and she has not recovered her money.

For more consumer tips and information, visit http://bbb.org.


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