Woman Loses Money In Online Dog Scam

A Johnston County woman thought she was buying a pit bull from a special breed line.  Instead she ended up losing a large amount of money.

We don’t often hear about Internet pet scams but they do happen.

Earlier this month, a 50 year-old Four Oaks woman began searching for a particular pit bull to buy. She found a website claiming to be a small breeder based in Utah.  The website didn’t list a telephone number but did give an email address.

The woman began corresponding and took advantage of the $450 price for the dog and the bargain shipment fee of just $50.

After paying with her credit card, the scammers convinced her to add insurance and other surcharges.  Altogether she lost $1,960.  She never got the dog.

The Johnston County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the case but hasn’t made any arrests. Authorities don’t even know if the website was in Utah. It could be based overseas.  Many times the websites are set up with stolen credit cards.

According to DogBreedInfo.com there are a few ways to reduce your risk of being scammed. Whenever possible, buy locally.

Scammers pose as USA and Canadian breeders selling puppies they don’t even own. Often they steal the photos from legitimate breeder websites.

DogBreedInfo.com recommends asking for a new photo of the dog or puppy with something in the photo you can identify such as a piece of paper with the date or your name written on it.

Pictures can be doctored, so ask for different shots of the same dog in difference poses with the same identifiable object or paper.

Copy and paste a sentence or two from the website into a Google search with quotes around the text to see if the exact words appear on another dog breeders website. If they do, it could be a scam.

Look for a telephone number and call to make sure you can speak with a real person.  Most scammers will not get on the phone.

Be cautious about responding to ads found in free classified listings.  You don’t have to avoid sites that run free listings but be cautious as scammers use free sites to list pets for sale.

If you have a bad feeling about a breeder steer clear.  Use common sense and don’t ignore any warning signs.