Gone to the Dogs: $5,000 | Local News

Isn’t it amazing the hold and devotion pets can inspire in their human companions? Many of us will go to great lengths to keep pets comfortable and healthy.

And by great effort, I mean spending a lot of money on their care. Some of us are even willing to spend freely just to get our hands on a new pet, especially for the trendy or cute breeds. This willingness to pay for a pet led a Clinton wife to a $5,000 loss last week.

How did it happen?

Kerry loves Shih Tzu dogs. She wanted a Shih Tzu puppy. She wasn’t sure how to find one to sell, so she posted on Facebook, looking for someone to sell a puppy. Soon enough, she received a message directing her to another Facebook profile, which offered “adorable Shih Tzu puppies for sale.” Exactly what Kerry was hoping for!

Using Facebook Messenger, she contacted the seller, who agreed to sell a puppy for $600. The seller wanted payment in gift cards. Kerry agreed and provided the seller with the gift card numbers after she went out and bought them. Now you wonder how a $600 puppy caused Kerry to lose $5,000?

After the first payment, the puppy seller demanded further payments. Every day for more than a week, the seller made a new request to Kerry. The seller wanted payment for an electronic cage, vaccinations, quarantine, food, even “drop-out fees” because Kerry didn’t pay another expense quickly enough. After paying the drop-out fee, Kerry ran out of money and turned to a loan company. The loan officer, warned, had to announce to Kerry that she had fallen into the trap of a scam.

The impostors who created the fake Facebook profile selling Shih Tzu puppies have never owned puppies. They posted stolen puppy photos on other websites or social media pages. Gift cards are the currency of the realm of scammers. Never use gift cards as payment. Be extremely careful when making purchases from a Facebook page. These pages are almost impossible to trust. This particular page only showed two reviews (now three, having posted mine) and was only renamed to feature the puppies on January 9, 2022.

If you are buying dogs online, check reputable websites first. The American Kennel Society (AKC) website provides links to registered sellers of hundreds of breeds. The registry showed 319 Shih Tzu breeders.

COURTS

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced on January 7, 2022 a settlement in a lawsuit filed against a lead generation company, IT Media Solutions. The FTC accused this company of operating websites that advertised loans and other payday loan companies.

The websites urged consumers to provide social security numbers and bank account numbers, telling consumers they were sharing this information with “trusted and qualified lenders.” In fact, they shared, or more likely sold, the information with…pretty much anyone. The record showed that 84% of leads generated by these websites went to anyone except lenders. This information went to the telemarketers, and who knows where else. IT Media Solutions agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle the lawsuit.

CONTACT SENIORS VS. CRIMINALITY

Let me know about any scams, cheats or other scams you come across. Most of what I learn, I learn from you. Contact me at Seniors vs Crime, Clinton County Sheriff’s Office, 242-9211, Ext. 4433, or email me at [email protected]

Randy Meier is the director of Seniors vs. Crime, which operates in conjunction with the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office.

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