News 4 Investigates: Puppy scammers feed off victims' emotions t - KMOV.com

News 4 Investigates: Puppy scammers feed off victims' emotions to steal money

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Online puppy scam (Credit: KMOV) Online puppy scam (Credit: KMOV)

(KMOV.com) – An adorable little puppy can make just about anybody melt and that can lead to opening your wallet; that is when scammers can strike.

News 4 Investigates Reporter Lauren Trager is bringing you this warning, after one woman lost big bucks, hoping for a precious pug puppy.

“She was ready to go, I can tell you that,” said Sue.

When Sue lost her pug Sugar Plum to illness and old age in 2015, it broke her heart.

With her other dog, Cherry Blossom, also getting on in years, Sue decided it was time to get another puppy.

“I was so looking forward to having a new baby doggie to take care of,” said Sue.

Local breeders wanted thousands, so Sue looked online finding a site called pugpuppyhomes.com. Bowled over by the puppies she saw on the site, she settled on a little dog called Darzy and started to stock up on a new leash and dog bed.

After corresponding through email, Sue wired more than $600. Darzy was supposed to be shipped through Lambert International Airport. But when the puppy never arrived, Sue discovered it was all a scam.

“It just was really sad. Now I am out of most of my house payment money and I don't have my dog either,” said Sue.

Trager called the numbers Sue had for the scammers. But she did not hear back.

Not long after, their website, registered to somewhere in India, had been suspended.

Over the years, News 4 has talked with a number of people who lost big bucks, hoping for a best friend.

“It's sad every time you hear that. It's a shame that someone would use your love of animals to strip you of your money,” said Debbie Hill with the Missouri Humane Society.

Hill says scammers capitalize on people's emotions, but pets are a commitment, so do your homework and always make sure you get your eyes on a dog before you buy.

“You want to be able to see mom and dad, what are their living circumstances, can you talk to their veterinarian, can you get references from them,” said Hill.

She says check state or local agencies too and consider adopting even if you're picky about breeds.

“You can pick the most obscure breed and I guarantee, we probably have it,” said Hill.

Sue learned the hard way, but with an empty dog bed and emptier wallet she wants you to be aware.

“I certainly don't want anyone else to go through this heartbreak,” said Sue.

Sue says she found a local breeder willing to sell her a pug puppy. She's just trying to come up with another $500, but she's hopeful she will bring the new dog home in August.

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