Sure, you might have been pretty cocky hearing yesterday’s news of phone and email scams (“I’m smarter than THAT,” you said), but how confident are you that you could avoid an adorable puppy scam? That’s right, the newest scam the Better Business Bureau is warning people about is as cute as they come, and could scam you out of hundreds or thousands of dollars (depending on your breed of choice and gullibility, I suppose).
In a news release, the BBB told the story of a 75-year-old Nampa woman who wanted to buy a Maltese puppy. After she couldn’t find anything in the newspaper, she turned to the internet. That decision would prove to be her downfall.
She found an ad from a supposed veterinarian that featured two puppies being held by a little girl (it doesn’t get cuter than that, folks). She started emailing the “breeder” and eventually sent $180 for transportation of the dog. When she got a second request for money, she knew she was being scammed.
But this kind of thing isn’t rare. The BBB said scammers like to use the adorable nature of puppies to pressure people into making rash decisions. There are some warning signs to look out for including over-accommodating vendors, wire-transfer payments, lack of references or email and fax correspondence.
To stay safe, make sure you get up-to-date photos of the puppies (you can ask for a photo including that day’s newspaper). Payment through credit card is another safety measure, since they offer protection through cancellation. Of course, if it feels shady you can always walk away.
It doesn’t matter how savvy and smart you are, the lure of a cute puppy is hard to avoid. Even the grittiest cowboy knows the joy of holding a tiny puppy in your hand. But be careful! Some people in this world are cruel enough to feed on your biggest vulnerability. There’s a special kind of hell for those people.