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B.C. Better Business Bureau warns of online puppy scam

By Arthur Weinreb     Feb 22, 2016 in Crime
Vancouver - The BBB is warning the province's residents of a scam where fraudsters advertise puppies for sale online. And this scam is not limited to British Columbia or Canada.
The B.C. Better Business Bureau issued a press release Friday warning of the scam. According to the BBB, it has received numerous complaints from people taken in by the fraud since the start of the new year.
The sale of a puppy is advertised online on such sites as Craigslist and Kijiji. Often the purported owner of the dog gives a sob story about why they have to part with their beloved pet.
The puppies are offered for free; all the buyer has to do is pay for the cost of air transportation to get the puppy to his or her new home. The seller purports to be in Halifax, the other side of the country. The purchaser is asked to wire the money to the seller.
The buyer is then again contacted and told the poor pup is stranded at an airport somewhere between Halifax and the dog's destination. The buyer is then asked for more money for required vaccinations and travel insurance. Of course the puppy never arrives.
Metro News Vancouver reports one person taken in by the scam was Stephanie Kilbreath of 100 Mile Ranch. She saw an ad on Kijiji offering puppies for sale and decided to purchase them for her son and his friends. The owner of the dogs told her her daughter had just died and she needed to find the pets a good home. Kilbreath even saw the puppies and the dogs' papers on Skype.
The B.C. woman was asked to wire $800 to pay the transportation costs and she did so, not suspecting it was a scam. She then received a text message saying the puppies were in Edmonton and would not be released unless she paid $1700 for pet insurance and a further $160 for dog crates. Now suspicious she called the Edmonton International Airport and found the dogs were not there.
This scam is not restricted to British Columbia or Canada. The Athens Banner-Herald reports a Florida man was taken for $1,700 after he paid for a puppy, a crate rental, and shipping and insurance costs. And a Michigan couple were out $1,200 after purchasing a puppy advertised on Craigslist. When the dog did not arrive they, like Kilbreath, called the airport and found the puppy was never there.
The BBB provided several tips for people in search of a purchasing a dog. They should purchase them from legitimate breeders and visit the breeder to see the dog first. If that is not possible, they should at least ask the breeder to provide references. Legitimate breeders have no problems providing these to prospective purchasers.
If someone wants to purchase a pet online and the seller has a website, pictures of the puppy should be checked by using sites that allow the same pictures to be found. As the puppy usually does not exist, the scam artist undoubtedly uses pictures taken from other sites. And the domain name of the site should be checked to make sure it is in the same country.
If a dog is going to be shipped, a legitimate seller would have no objection to the buyer making the transportation arrangements. And perhaps most important of all, buyers should always use credit cards for payment. They should never wire cash to people they do not know.
More about puppy scam, Online scams, Craigslist, Kijiji, better business bureau
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