‘Puppy scheme’ on the rise, costing some thousands

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Ohio Attorney General’s Office says more and more people are looking for help after being taken in a ‘puppy scheme.’

Dozens of people think they found their forever pet. They are sending away hundreds of dollars and getting no pet in return. This increase in what the Attorney General’s office is calling a nationwide puppy scheme has prompted Mike Dewine to post a warning for the public.

“We’re seeing it all over,” said Jonathan Blanton, Chief of consumer protection section at the Ohio Attorney General’s office. “We’re seeing it on Craigslist and some of the general marketplaces. Facebook is a very common place.”

All the communication is taking place online, not even with a phone call, Blanton said. Puppy photos are exchanged, followed by a request for payment.

“Now we’re seeing more iTunes cards and cash transfer cards,” Blanton said.

The consumer sends the money, then hears nothing back. There’s been an increase this year as consumers are losing an average of about $600.

“But then there’s usually a follow-up of needing veterinarian bills or special crate to transfer the puppy or an inspection,” Blanton said. “They’re asked to send another hundred to several thousand dollars more. We’ve had some victims lose several thousands of dollars”.

Tonette Moore is a dog owner. She thinks everyone should make sure you see the dog in person before you buy.

“I think it’s a horrible scam to play with people’s money like that,” Moore said.

The Attorney General’s Office urges those looking for a pet to be careful.

“Make sure you know who you’re dealing with, make sure you know what you’re getting, do your research check it out to be skeptical,” Blanton said.

If you think you may have encountered this type of situation, first contact police and then the Ohio Attorney General’s office at 800-282-0515 or Ohioprotects.org

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