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Puppy Scam is Back, Creating Websites with Victims Information

The “Puppy Scam” is back! It’s been around for years but is still tricking people into paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars. The Better Business Bureau says they’ve seen an uptick in the hoax, even creating websites with victims’ information.

CBS 58 spoke with a woman who was in search of a new dog for almost a year. She fell victim of the scam but also found out her information had been used to lure people into the same sting.

“I was looking to add to the family,” says Lisa Fassbender, victim of the scam. “It was time to bring in another puppy into the home. So, you become vulnerable, especially when buying over the internet.”

About a year ago Fassbender began looking for a puppy, constantly running into false advertisements and scammers.

“Classified ads, Craigslist, even on Pinterest,” says Fassbender. “I’ve been on any dog page you could possibly imagine and 99% of them were not legitimate.”

“These people will take an actual website, copy text, copy images and so it looks legitimate,” Jim Temmer, CEO of the Better Businesses Bureau Serving Wisconsin. “They bleed people out of their money slowly but surely and all of a sudden there is no more contact, there is no dog.”

It’s a scenario Fassbender fell victim to when trying to buy a Tea Cup Poodle.

“I went over and sent Western union, $450 for the dog to get shipped here,” explains Fassbender. “Dog never showed up, never could get ahold of the company again.”

The money loss was just one hurdle in Lisa’s search.

A confirmation message showed her name and email had been used to create a classified ad for two Yorkie puppies.

Fassbender immediately contacted the company. The ad has since been removed.

“If you do your research on the website you can look up whose it is, when it was constructed, and if it’s really new, if it’s within the last month, that’s kind of a red flag,” says Temmer.

About a week ago Fassbender’s long journey finally came full circle after receiving her two newest editions through reputable sites.

“I have a good story at the end but if you continue down the path that I went on you’re going to be heartbroken over and over,” says Fassbender. “They play with your mind, your emotions, and your bank account.”

If at all possible the BBB also suggests visiting the breeder. They say scams like these are easy to fall for but they recommend doing your research and filing a complaint to help monitor the growing problem.


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