Lake Oswego, Ore. – April 1, 2010 – A scam targeting puppy sellers has resurfaced: dog owners or breeders post puppy ads, and receive e-mail responses from schemers posing as potential buyers.
Shawn and Tammy Packard of Edgewood, Wash. are trying to ensure their Pomeranian pups go to good homes. They became immediately distrustful when approached by a con hoping to ensnare them in a counterfeit check hoax.
"Larry Rinze," e-mailing from "firstname.lastname@example.org," inquired about purchasing a puppy; and quickly agreed to buy any of the three puppies for sale. He said he would send the payment, then asked the Packards to cash the check, deduct the amount accrued and send the excess balance via Western Union money transfer back to the alleged shipping agent "Malphin Jones" at 187 Marsh Wall, London, E14 9SH UK.
The Packards were already wary of the idea of shipping a puppy overseas, but "Larry" assured them that he would schedule someone to pick-up the pup after the transaction was complete.
When they received the FedEx package with the payment and money transfer instructions, they didn't open it. Instead, they marked it return to sender: "Amy Green" at 3651 Lake Pass Lane, Suwanee, Georgia. The Packards knew they were about to be swindled and immediately reported it to consumer protection authorities.
Not all puppy breeders are as cautious. Those who deposit the check discover the money never enters their account or that the funds were stolen from another's. Ultimately, the breeder or puppy seller will be held accountable for paying back the deficient funds, including the amount wired to the scammer.
- This breeder scam is one of Two Doggone Scams That Target Pet Lovers. Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington advises dog sellers to stick with the "three Ds."
- Deal Locally. Don't ship puppies. Deliver the puppy to the new owner or have them retrieve the pup in person.
Demand cash. Or validate the payment method (check, money order, etc.) before selling the puppy; contact the buyer's bank and confirm the account number, name and address on the check match the buyer's name and address.
Deny requests to forward money to cover shipping or other costs.