Puppy scams costing Clevelanders thousands

Posted at 5:55 PM, Dec 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-16 17:57:20-05

During the holidays, people love buying pets as gifts for loved ones, but a new warning from Ohio's Attorney General might make you think twice.

Attorney General Mike DeWine has documented victims in our area who've lost thousands, including a person in Brecksville who was scammed out of $13,500 just trying to get a puppy.

The attorney general is traveling around warning people about these puppy scams. He said the bad guys post a puppy for sale on Craigslist or other sites. You contact them and they ask you to send them money.

The problem is, the posting is fake, there is no puppy, and they're only out to snag your money and run.

He told us it's very difficult to track the criminals down because they use fake IDs, send in random people to pick up the money and they disappear.

Victims send down payments but then the criminals ask you for more money for something like shipping or insurance on the package.

"And at this point, of course, you're invested in the dog emotionally and the puppy and maybe you've already shown a picture to the kids,” said AG DeWine. “So you say, ‘Okay, another $500.’ And then they'll come up with some other reason. They'll keep you on there as long as you are sending them money."

DeWine said you should deal with breeders in person. If you go the online route, never send them money up-front, do your research on the company or breeder and ask for references. If you get any kind of pushback, then walk away and find a different person to sell you a puppy.


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