SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Adding a new furry friend to your family can bring a lot of joy. But what happens if your purchase ends up being fake – and you lose your money?
“While going through the process of purchasing this puppy, there were various times she had to send money through the internet for the cost of the puppy and then there was discussion on insurance and shipping, to where money was continued to be presented over the internet for this puppy before she realized she was being scammed,” Sioux Falls Police Dept., Sgt. Sean Kooistra said.
A recent study from the Better Business Report says pet scams make up 35% of online scams. 82% involved dogs.
You’re scrolling through your phone or computer and see a picture of a cute puppy for sale. But, before you send money over the internet to buy it, make sure you do your research.
“Scammers, they know that people want references, they know that people want cute pictures, so their websites have all that, they have great endorsements from people, but again we know you can do fake reviews, we know you can put anybody’s quote on your website,” Better Business Bureau, Jessie Schmidt said.
Jessie Schmidt with the Better Business Bureau says pet scams are an easy way for scammers to make money.
“Because puppies are expensive, scammers love this area, you can get a lot of money really quickly and poof, disappear, and that’s what we typically see,” Schmidt says.
A non-traditional form of payment should be a red flag.
“If someone asks for a payment on cash app, or zelle, Venmo, or PayPal, I would think that’s suspicious, if it’s a small deposit, that’s one thing, but if they want payment only that way, then I think that’s suspicious,” Schmidt said.
And make sure you’re able to see the pet in person before paying any money.
“Get references, talk to local people, do business locally, somewhere in this area,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt suggests checking out the local humane society as well. For a full look at the BBB report, click here.