Online puppy scams on the rise in Missouri | #phishing | #scams


The Wentzville Police Department has taken three reports in just 10 days of people buying dogs online and being left with no pet and no money.

WENTZVILLE, Mo. — The Wentzville Police Department is investigating a string of scams, related to our furry friends.

People are buying dogs online and then are left heartbroken, with no pet and no money.

There are many puppies waiting to be adopted at the Humane Society of Missouri, but according to Wentzville Police Department Public Information Officer Sgt. Jacob Schmidt, not everyone is walking into a shelter to find their future best friend.

“We’re noticing a little bit of an uptick, or a trend, in scams with deposits to reserve dogs,” he said.

The Wentzville Police Department has taken three reports in just 10 days. 

Something Schmidt described as ‘shocking.’

“It’s just really startling that it’s that many that quickly and in our area in Wentzville,” he said.

According to Schmidt, it’s specifically targeting Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist.

Basically, people are seeing ads for puppies on these sites and the breeder is asking for money immediately.

This has caused people to be out of $300 to $1,400 in just a click of a button, according to Schmidt. 

“They’re forwarding money from Cash App and Venmo, things like that, that are legitimate services, but then they come to find out that they’ve been frauded for them for that deposit,” he said.

This scam isn’t just unique to Wentzville, though.

Debbie Hill, with the Humane Society of Missouri, said they’re hearing about these stories happening everywhere.

“We hear the sad stories over and over. People who wanted to give a pet a loving home, and then ended up with nothing,” she said.

Hill’s advice for people wanting to adopt a dog, as the Vice President of Operations for the Humane Society of Missouri, is to always go to a shelter. 

She said if you don’t go that route, just be careful.

“If you’re going to buy from a breeder, you need to go to that facility, you need to meet the person, you need to see where the animals are raised,” Hill said.

While there are plenty of cute pictures of puppies on the internet, she said, never buy online, just for a promise.

“Work with somebody who’s reputable. If you can’t do that, say no,” Hill said.

Sgt. Schmidt had some other tips if you chose to buy online:

  1. Do your research on the breeder. 
  2. Check to see if the breeder has a license through the state. 
  3. Google the address to see if the breeder’s legitimate. 
  4. Ask for a Facetime call with the breeder, so you can see the puppy live. 

The local Better Business Bureau also has more tips here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries



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