An Ohio woman's Christmas puppy dreams were shattered when she reportedly paid a man and then ... never received her puppies.
"Jean Burich desperately wanted a new puppy in time for Christmas after losing her 10-year-old dog, her best friend," WCPO reporter John Matarese says.
Burich paid $300 to someone she thought was a breeder. The person told a sad story about losing his wife. She bought a prepaid debit card and sent him the code, effectively paying him.
"Unfortunately, his next email said the dogs each needed a $400 insulated shipping crate," the WCPO reporter says.
"You think of a little puppy sitting on a hot tarmac melting away and your heart goes out and says 'OK, I'll spend $800,'" Burich says.
Next, the alleged breeder asked for $500 insurance, but Burich had caught on and realized she was the victim of a scam.
Puppy scams unfortunately aren't anything new, and they don't just happen around Christmas. The Better Business Bureau put out an article in June warning people of the scammers.
Here are some tips:
- Beware of bad grammar. Scams often come from overseas, where English likely isn't a first language.
- Don't wire money, especially to strangers. Same goes for prepaid credit cards. The Better Business Bureau says they can be "virtually untraceable."
Let's say you do find someone who will actually give you a real, living puppy. You still need to be careful.
The UK's Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says as of August 2014, it had already gotten 30 percent more calls about potentially dangerous puppy farms "compared to the whole of 2013."
What's one easy solution? Visit a local animal shelter to get your new family pet instead. As for Burich, she's sadly just out the money.
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