Ohio AG warn of con artists posing as puppy breeders online - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Ohio AG warn of con artists posing as puppy breeders online

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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

There is a warning out to potential animal buyers that breeders and sellers who advertise online are con artists, according to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office said in 2015 they received about 30 complaints from consumers who said they bought a puppy or other pet online but never received anything in return.

The average reported loss was approximately $1,200, according to DeWine.

“Scammers go online, post cute pictures of a puppy, and get you to feel connected to the dog, even though it’s all a scam,” DeWine said in a statement. “I would encourage anyone to ask to see the dog in person before making any payments.”

According to DeWine, in a typical puppy scam, a consumer finds an ad for a puppy online. The consumer communicates with the seller, agrees to buy the puppy, and eventually wires a few hundred dollars to have the puppy delivered. After paying, however, the consumer never receives the puppy. Instead, the seller demands more money for insurance or transportation costs and threatens to turn in the consumer for animal abuse if the consumer refuses to pay.

DeWine provided some signs of a puppy scam that include:

  • Offers that are too good to be true, such as paying $650 for a puppy valued at $1,300.
  • Sellers who require payment via wire transfer or money order.
  • Extra costs for airline pet insurance or a temperature-controlled crate.
  • Unexpected delivery problems requiring additional payment.
  • Threats that you’ll be turned in for animal abuse or neglect if you don’t pay.

Attorney General DeWine offered consumers the following tips to avoid scams:

  • Research breeders and sellers carefully. Check complaints filed with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office or the Better Business Bureau, and review feedback from other customers.
  • Conduct an online image search of the puppy’s photo to see where else the picture is posted on the Internet. If the same picture shows up in multiple places, it could be part of a scam.
  • Visit the puppy in person before paying. If possible, take the puppy to an independent veterinarian for a health exam.
  • Don’t trust sellers who accept payment only via wire transfer, prepaid card, or money order.

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