JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Like any dog owner, Katelyn Inman is pretty biased when she says she’s got the best dog.
So when her boyfriend said he wanted a German Shepherd just like her’s, she was all for finding it. She found an advertisement for a breeder on Craigslist.
“I was like, do you have these puppies? Sure, I’ll put a deposit down so I can go see them,” Inman said.
She said she wired money through PayPal to the seller, receiving promises through a series of texts messages that the money was refundable. But when the couple decided that they could not longer get a dog, they asked for their money back.
“He was like, I can’t do that,” Inman said.
Tom Stephens, president of the Better Business Bureau of Northeast Florida, said he’s received 10 reports of puppy scams in the last two weeks.
“These are people who are losing a minimum of $500, sometimes $1,500, $2,000,” Stephens said. “It depends on how long it takes for people to realize they were getting scammed.”
In most of the cases, Stephens said, the victim gets ghosted by the scammer once they realize what’s going on.
In Inman’s case, she said the person behind the texts brought it to the next level.
“So then later on, when I was angrily texting him, can I please have my refund back, he said, ‘Can you send me nude photos? And then I’ll send you $200.’"
Inman said the texter didn’t just ask for nude photos once, but multiple times. News4Jax attempted to call the number, but a voicemail stated that the subscriber was not available.
Her warning to others: “Be careful. Just make sure to do your homework. Don’t send money until you see the puppy,” Inman said. “I should have known better.”
How the Better Business Bureau says to avoid these scams
The BBB recommends searching for a breeder online, using the word “scams” to see what pops up.
You should also search for how much the breed typically costs. If what you’re seeing is nowhere near the typical cost, the BBB said it’s best to assume that it’s a scam.
The BBB said before giving any money to ask to do a FaceTime or Zoom call to see the animal first.