Better Business Bureau warns of puppy scams
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - With the holiday season in full swing, the Better Business Bureau is sounding the alarm that puppy scams are everywhere, especially online.
A local couple is devastated after falling in love with with a puppy they ended up never getting to meet and losing hundreds of dollars in the process.
The Better Business Bureau says it expects the year to end with around two million dollars in losses because of pet scams in the states. It says scammers know that adding a new pet to the family is always emotional, and that's where they strike.
"Four-legged friends are a part of our family. I know ours are. They complete us," said Marco Armendariz. He and Kaitlyn Ingles are adopting a cat.
With Christmas around the corner, families like Armendariz and Ingles are adding new pets to their homes.
The Better Business Bureau says that this time of year, you need to be extremely careful with those purchases.
Kushagra Soni is a puppy scam victim.
“We wanted a break from our emotions, you know, we were both very stressed of work studies family issues and everything," said Soni.
After going through a series of hard times and frustrating setbacks in life, Kushargra Soni and his wife decided to get a puppy. That's when they saw an advertisement for a toy poodle on Instagram. They fell in love with the dog immediately.
"We already kind of, you know, named him,” Soni said. That's when things took a turn for the worse.
The seller seemed legitimate at first, just asking for a down payment before shipping the puppy. Then, it turned into needing more money for shots. Then another payment that the scammer claimed was for a state law requiring buyers to provide a refundable deposit to prove they could take care of the dog.
After days of headaches, Soni finally realized what was going on.
"We actually had an emotional block or something like that okay, we just need him he was so emotionally invested in those videos, those pictures.”
Out hundreds of dollars, and the scammers nowhere to be found, Soni says it feels as if he and his wife were left to grieve losing a new puppy that probably didn't exist in the first place.
It's a tough lesson that Nicole Blomberg with Save the Kitties, a local rescue, says she hears all too often.
“I almost always encourage going to shelter or to the Humane Society somewhere where there's a legitimate adoption process,” she said.