Puppy Selling Scam

Friday, October 26th 2007, 8:45 pm
By: News On 6

Just when you think you have seen them all, a new and even more inventive scam emerges. This time the scam targets people with puppy ads in local newspapers. The News On 6’s Jennifer Loren reports, this time, the would-be scammers targeted the wrong seller.

Kristina Frantz is a veterinarian in the Claremore area. She has six Labrador puppies for sale, which get along nicely with her six children. She put an ad in the newspaper to help sell her puppies, she says then things got strange.

"That’s where everything just got kind of interesting," said veterinarian and breeder Kristina Frantz.

Frantz got a strange phone call from someone supposedly interested in her puppies.

"It said it was a relay communication, and it said they were calling on behalf of someone that was hearing or speech impaired," Frantz said.

The voice on the phone told Frantz to e-mail him and gave her an address. When she followed through, she says she knew something was amiss.

"And so I e-mailed him back and he immediately said I want a chocolate female and then gave me these absolutely detailed instructions," said Frantz.

The e-mailer said they would send her a money order or cashiers check. They instructed Frantz to cash them immediately, deduct the money for the puppy, and send the balance via Western Union to a shipping company that would pick up the puppy.

"So they had no concern for the puppy. Yet they had absolutely detailed instructions on how to do this Western Union money," said veterinarian and breeder Kristina Frantz. "When you wire the money through Western Union there's very little oversight."

According to folks at the Better Business Bureau it is a common scam, targeting puppy-sellers is just a twist.

"This scam is very prevalent,” said Rick Brinkley of the Better Business Bureau. “Its happening all over the country and these scam artists are coming in from all over the world to operate this scam."

If you are ever in a situation where someone pays via cashiers' check, the BBB suggests you do some homework before depositing the check. They say you should take it to your bank and have them verify the bank routing number and account number to be sure it’s good and from a valid bank.

They remind you that when you wire money to someone, it can be picked up anywhere in the world. That means you may never see it again.