Online puppy scams are on the rise in Missouri

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The Wentzville Police Department took three reports in just 10 days of people buying dogs online and being left with no pets and no money.

WENTZVILLE, Mo. — The Wentzville Police Department is investigating a series of scams related to our furry friends.

People buy dogs online and then have their hearts broken, with no pets and no money.

There are plenty of puppies waiting to be adopted at the Humane Society of Missouri, but according to Wentzville Police Department Public Information Officer Sgt. Jacob Schmidt, not everyone goes to a shelter to find their future best friend.

“We are seeing a slight increase, or trend, in scams with deposits to reserve dogs,” he said.

The Wentzville Police Department took three reports in just 10 days.

Something Schmidt described as “shocking”.

“It’s really surprising that there are so many so quickly and in our area in Wentzville,” he said.

According to Schmidt, it specifically targets Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist.

Basically, people see advertisements for puppies on these sites and the breeder asks for money immediately.

According to Schmidt, this caused people to lose $300 to $1,400 with just one click.

“They’re transferring money from Cash App and Venmo and things like that, which are legit services, but then they find out they’ve been scammed for them for that deposit,” he said.

This scam is not unique to Wentzville, however.

Debbie Hill of the Humane Society of Missouri said they hear about these stories happening everywhere.

“We hear sad stories over and over again. People who wanted to give a pet a loving home and then found themselves with nothing,” she said.

Hill’s advice to people looking to adopt a dog, as vice president of operations for the Humane Society of Missouri, is to always go to a shelter.

She said if you don’t go that route, be careful.

“If you’re going to buy from a breeder, you have to go to that facility, you have to meet the person, you have to see where the animals are raised,” Hill said.

Although there are plenty of cute puppy pictures on the internet, she says, never buy online just for a promise.

“Work with someone reputable. If you can’t do that, say no,” Hill said.

sergeant. Schmidt had a few more tips if you chose to shop online:

  1. Do your research on the breeder.
  2. Check to see if the breeder is licensed by the state.
  3. Google the address to see if the breeder is legit.
  4. Ask for a Facetime call with the breeder, so you can see the pup live.

The local Better Business Bureau also has more advice here.

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