12 News Investigates: Pet Scams

12 News Investigates

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The coronavirus pandemic has made some people lonely, and many have looked for a furry friend. Pet adoptions are up, but if you’re looking to buy a puppy, watch out.

Some families are looking for a puppy to train with more time at home, especially during the holiday season. With the COVID-19 spread, puppy scams have surged. The victims have lost thousands of dollars after buying a dog that didn’t exist.

Over the last three weeks, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) in Jackson has tracked several fake pet web sites, the latest one flagged: huntpreyweimaranerpups.com. Another site the BBB says to look out for is dollymaltesefamily.com Both these sites list an Oxford address.

The dogs here may grab your heartstrings, but the victim who ordered one is now out $2,000 and never received the dog. On another call with John O’Hara, the CEO of the BBB, 12 News’ Jade Bulecza opened his eyes to yet another possible fraudulent web site. The same testimonials used on dollymaltesefamily.com were also used on mandelcockapoo.com. When the BBB reached out to the Mandel’s, the phone was not in service.

The number for Dolly Maltese was not working when 12 News called to get some answers. Later, O’Hara found the BBB in Atlanta, Georgia had an alert about Mandel’s Cockapoo Puppies.

National statistics show in November of this year the BBB received 337 complaints of puppy scams compared to 77 last November. Many more go unreported.

To avoid a scam like this, the BBB says to see the pet in person before you pay any money; do a reverse image search of the pet online; do your research to get an idea of a fair price; and check out your local animal shelter.

If you are a victim of a pet scam, you will want to reach out to the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau. Here is a list of what the BBB calls bad charities:

  1. Cancer Fund of America: Only 2.5 percent of its donations go to support families of cancer victims and fund cancer research
  2. Children’s Wish Foundation: Can be confused with the Make-a-Wish Foundation
  3. Police Protection Fund: Only 0.7 percent of the donations have made its way to officers
  4. Vietnow National Headquarters: Only three percent go into the hands of Vietnam vets

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