WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – A West Haven woman who thought she was buying a puppy online is now heartbroken. She also lost more than $400. The Better Business Bureau says it is hard to know how often these types of scams happen, since many of victims do not come forward.
If you buy something from a website like Craigslist, like this woman did, it is considered a private transaction; therefore, you are not protected. It is not always that easy to tell the difference between legitimate sellers and crooks online.
Debbie, who didn’t want to give her last name, had bought what she thought was a German Shepherd puppy. Her last dog had died a few years ago, and she was ready for another dog. She was going to name him Duke.
“[I was getting him for] my birthday, and we’re not going to get one now. He’s not here,” Debbie said.
She wired her payment and a company called Pro Pet Travel was going to ship the dog from Arlington, Virginia this past Tuesday. Instead she got a phone call. She was told the puppy was not insured and she would have to pay more than $600.
“I said you’re scamming me, aren’t you?” Debbie said. “At that point I just started crying.”
After she told the alleged Pro Pet Travel employee that she was going to the police, she was not able to get in contact with anyone she had been dealing with. The phone numbers she used to contact them were all through Google Voice.
Debbie says the company looked legitimate and that everyone she spoke with had an answer to all of her questions.
“I thought I wouldn’t get taken advantage of,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Better Business Bureau has heard of scams like this. Executive Communications Director Howard Schwartz says if a seller demands a certain type of payment – especially if it’s untraceable – be careful. Doing business online can be risky.
“If you want to buy a dog or a refrigerator or anything else for that matter, you want to see it first, see if it’s the type of person you want to deal with,” Schwartz said.
Debbie won’t be using Craigslist again. She left the crooks who scammed her a message.
“I said thanks for scamming me and hurting my family,” Debbie said. “I hope you carry this with you for a lifetime.”
The Better Business Bureau says some dogs that are for sale online have been stolen, so be sure to get proof of where the dog came from.
News 8 reached out to Pro Pet Travel for a comment but we have not heard back.