Cape Cod Women Out $1,700 – NBC Boston
Excitement turned to despair when a Cape Cod woman realized she was the victim of a puppy scam.
The little dog she bought never showed up, and the website she bought him from disappeared.
Truro residents Barbara Wohlgemuth and Carrie Stapleton bought a dog bed, collar and toys in preparation for the new Maltese puppy they bought from what they thought was an online breeder in June.
“He sent, you know, four or five photos and a very short video of Cabo, and I fell in love,” Wohlgemuth said.
Before bringing a shelter dog home, Brandon McMillan, celebrity animal trainer and Link My Pet ambassador, says all new pet parents need to think about how to set up their new dog for success. “If you don’t train your dog, it’s like not sending your little child to kindergarten. Once your dog has learned his ABCs and his 123s like a human, that’s where your basic control and mannerisms come into play.”
They paid $700 for the dog and another $150 to have it shipped from North Carolina. But before the dog arrived, the shipping company demanded that an additional $900 be sent via a peer-to-peer mobile payment app for new crate and insurance.
“They said, ‘Well, we can’t send the dog unless you send us that money,’ so that’s what we did,” Wohlgemuth said.
And it didn’t stop there.
“Then they wrote and said, ‘We had to give him injections, vaccines, and on top of that, we have to get a permit, get him into Massachusetts. And it’s going to be $1,400 for him combined,” Wohlgemuth recalled. “And that’s when we said no. It was then that we knew.
Wohlgemuth and Stapleton lost over $1,700 in the scam. Now they have some tips for others looking for a pet online.
“Well, the only thing was, if the price seems too good to be true, it’s too good to be true,” Stapleton said. “We couldn’t find anything else online that cost less than $1,000 for these puppies, so that was another red flag that we weren’t aware of at the time.
Paula Fleming of the Better Business Bureau says pet scams are common, and she encourages people to do plenty of research before sending money to anyone they find online or on social media.
“Make sure you check them out with AKC. Make sure if you can get them on the phone and possibly get a video or do it via Zoom, you check the litter box and the pup itself,” Fleming said.
“There are great opportunities to find a pet, be it a dog or a cat. But doing due diligence is extremely important,” she added.
If the seller only provides photos, the Better Business Bureau recommends that you perform a reverse image search of the animal you are considering. If the same image appears on multiple websites, it’s likely fraud.
Check sites for spelling and grammatical errors. This is an indication that the website is fake.
And consider going to a local animal shelter.
“Sometimes it’s worth paying more to have the peace of mind that you’re dealing with someone reputable and you’re meeting the puppy and your family is meeting the older puppy, cat or dog. you’re trying to save,” Fleming said.
Although they have lower adoption rates, dogs seven years and older are generally clean, less destructive, and calmer than younger dogs.
Wohlgemuth and Stapleton plan to watch locally next.
“Yeah, we want to smell it, touch it, hold it, cuddle it, you know, we want the dog to be real this time. It’s kind of sad,” Stapleton said.
“No shipping!” Wohlgemuth added.
You also want to avoid transferring money or paying for your pet using a money transfer app or gift card. These payment methods offer no way to get your money back if you are a victim of fraud.