Puppy Scams: Warning signs to sniff out a possible canine con


COVID-19 Scam Watch

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Little puppy Jack is the newest member of Nina Williams’s family in Clarksville. But getting to this point was no walk in the park.

Her search for a French Bulldog started online. “I clicked on the picture, went through the link, it took me to a website…It asked me to fill out information about the puppy or puppies I was interested in,” said Williams.

The very next day, Williams received an email about a puppy. She was in luck, the grey puppy was ready for a forever home. “I wanted to be able to go see the puppy in person.”

She was told, the puppy couldn’t have visitors at that time. “I asked to video chat so I could see the dog.”

Instead, the sellers sent a video and asked Williams for payment. “It was 7 or 800 dollars that they wanted right away.”

Williams found herself in a puppy scam along with more than 500 others in the area who have been conned this year alone, according to President and CEO of BBB Middle TN and Southern KY, Robyn Householder.

“Puppy scams, specifically, are over two billion dollars a year, and that’s billions with a ‘B'”, said Householder.

Thankfully, Williams spotted the warning signs of a scam. Grammatical errors on the website and in emails, excuses for why she couldn’t see the puppy, and request for immediate payment – Williams took her suspicion one step further.

“I did a Google image search on the puppy,” Williams said. “I actually found that particular photo in another story.”

She reported the scam to the BBB and found her current puppy in Murfreesboro. “I need to put this out there so people know this isn’t just a one time deal, this is a really big deal.”

Householder applauds Williams for doing everything right and has one more piece of advice. “It’s the old adage, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Never could it be truer than it is related to puppy scams.”

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