Oklahoma couple warns others against online puppy buying scams
TULSA, Okla. – With Valentine’s Day approaching, many are looking for a cute and cuddly pup to gift that special someone, but shoppers should beware of online scammers.
Scammers prey on the hearts of consumers, promising them a furry companion to leave them heartache and empty wallets.
Two victims have contacted problem solvers in the hope that their experiences will prevent others from becoming victims as well.
“It was really heartbreaking,” said Gary and Karol Faules. “You know…my biggest heartbreak was that we didn’t have a new best friend for our little girl.”
The Faules family talk about their adorable four-year-old pup.
“We wanted a playmate she could hang out with and another family member, so we started looking around and got a friend with a miniature English bull terrier,” Gary said.
The couple searched the Internet.
“Karol found one particular site online that looked pretty good and had some good choices,” Gary said.
The couple reside in Santa Fe, New Mexico and said the breeder claims to be in Tulsa. They said they called the breeder to ask if they could come see the dogs, but there was a catch.
“He said I would need a 50% deposit,” Gary said.
The Faules paid $400 for the pup through the Zelle mobile banking app and drove 10 hours to Tulsa. Once they arrived, they tried to contact the alleged breeder, who they say either ignored their text messages or hung up the phone.
It was then that the couple realized something was wrong.
“I went ahead and we went to the address he gave us,” Gary said. “I went to the front door and met the owner of the house and she said, ‘Let me guess, you’re here to ask about Akita puppies. “”
The owner told Les Faules that many people from all over the country had come to her house for the same thing. The scammer was apparently using a home address in south Tulsa to trick potential dog owners into thinking their purchase was real.
“He was very sweet,” Gary said. “I consider myself a very good judge of character and I haven’t really seen any red flags.”
Les Faules said another website used by the apparent fraudster is bullterrierpupsforsale.com, which has since been suspended.
Faules’ story is sadly just one of many recently reported in Green Country.
“I found a site that offered dachshund puppies, AKC registered supposedly for $700,” Maria Dyer said.
She lives in Kansas and thought she found a good deal on Rorysdaschundpups.com in Tulsa, another website that is no longer active.
She said she started talking with someone from the website and everything seemed OK.
“They asked me if I could pick up the dog this weekend, and I said I would try to arrange it,” Maria said. “I realized I didn’t have anyone’s name.”
Maria said she didn’t have a location either and it warned her that it might be a scam.
“I wasn’t going to give them credit card information over the phone,” Maria said. “I was going to give them money or a money order when I went to meet them.”
His meeting never took place. She said she wouldn’t give money until she met the animal in person — a good practice according to the Better Business Bureau of Tulsa.
“There are all kinds of pet scams out there,” said Bryce Marshall of the Tulsa BBB.
He said there are red flags to look out for when buying a puppy or any pet online, such as photos of the pets.
Do they appear on multiple sites? Are they grainy or blurry?
Does the website use bad grammar or give incomplete answers about the animal you want?
“They should have a lot of information to give you,” Marshall said.
The BBB said never to pay with apps that are essentially just a money transfer. Consumers should instead use a credit card so they can dispute charges if necessary.
“If they say we need you to go through Zelle, Cash App, or some sort of prepaid debit or gift card, that’s the biggest red flag and you shouldn’t be doing it,” Marshall said.
2 News Oklahoma investigators attempted to contact the suspected scammers, but the sites and numbers associated with potential puppy sales were no longer active.
See this full story THURSDAY at 6 a.m. on 2 News Oklahoma Today.
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