MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Pet lovers beware, there’s an online scam targeting people nationwide, using adorable pictures of puppies to steal money from victims.
In the story first reported by CBS Denver, one woman who lost thousands of dollars, has a warning for others.
Kellie Bohrer was looking for a puppy for her brother when she ran across an online ad for a puppy.
“I found the puppy for only $320 which was like okay. That’s not bad,” said Bohrer.
That’s not bad at all for a purebred Siberian Husky. They regularly go for as much as a thousand dollars. Kellie contacted the sellers and got more cute pictures and a registration certificate. That’s when the scam began.
“The agency called and said that we needed to give them $1600,” said Bohrer.
The money was for insurance and the form Kellie got assured her that all that money would be returned upon delivery.
“We waited for the puppy. We didn’t get anything, “said Bohrer.
What they got was another e-mail asking for more money. This time the puppy was in Idaho and needed vaccinations and a new carrier.
“That was another thousand dollars, “said Bohrer.
Still no puppy, but Kellie got another e-mail saying the husky was in Las Vegas in puppy quarantine. They wanted another 45-hundred dollars.
“We’re like this isn’t right,” said Bohrer.
That’s when Kellie started asking questions.
American Pet Registry is a real company based out of Arkansas and while the certificate looks authentic, it contains mistakes like registration numbers that are not associated with American Pet Registry.
The company said it’s gotten at least 10 complaints about this scam from people all over the country.
“If something appears to be too good to be true, it most likely is,” said Dave Joly, an FBI spokesperson.
Joly said his investigators see this scam over and over again. The twist in this one is that they’re drawing you in with cute puppy pictures.
We did a reverse search and found these same cuties for sale in Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, and even featured on what looks like a puppy sale site from a foreign country.
“Treat this as a business transaction. Don’t have an emotional attachment to anything that you’re purchasing,” said Joly.
They tried to track down the seller listed on the insurance form listed as Aundria Darby of Hoquiam, Washington.
Two Aundria Darby’s were found. One was in Texas and one was in California. Neither was selling Siberian Huskies.
Kellie is out $ 3,000. Now, she wants to warn other people about the scam.
If you run into this kind of doggie deception, Joly says that the best thing you can do is report it.
The FBI is the agency that would investigate this kind of internet fraud. They have a website for online complaints at their internet crime complaint center.
Investigators said that when you fill out the complaint form include as many details as you can.