BBB warns of fraudulent online dog breeder's financial bite - KMSP-TV

BBB warns of fraudulent online dog breeder's financial bite

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BBB warns of fenandopomeranianshome.net BBB warns of fenandopomeranianshome.net
ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota is issuing a nationwide warning about a big uptick in fraudulent dog breeder websites that display fake addresses in the Twin Cities.

According to the BBB, at least three consumers have been bitten by bogus businesses that they mistook for legitimate kennels. Now, the agency is warning that what starts with a photograph of a puppy that steals your heart could be little more than an attempt to steal.

AN EMOTIONAL, ELECTRONIC RUSE

It is relatively easy to create an authentic-looking website, and the BBB identified several entities that have created legitimate-looking websites that the agency says are anything but, including:

- Fenando Pomeranians
- Happy Husky
- Maliz French Bulldogs, also known as Manuh French Bulldogs

All three claim to be located in the Twin Cities, but although they have local numbers, none are legitimate and the photographs of pets for sale are believed to have been swiped from other kennel sites.

"Preparing to buy a pet for yourself or your family can be a very exciting time," said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. "It can also be expensive, so scammers know they can get people's attention by claiming to offer pets for free or at a large discount. Unfortunately, these ‘offers' are just hooks to try to reel in more victims."

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

The BBB warns that consumers can be taken in by the faux sincerity of those who know what to say to lure victims in. In fact, some con artists may even claim that they don't care about money and just want to find good homes for the animals they don't actually have, the BBB says.

One red flag is communication. If the only contact is via e-mail, that could be a sign that something is amiss. Generally, payment is collected from hopeful consumers via wire transfer as the scheme unfolds, and sometimes, the culprits even ask for fees to cover last-minute transportation or airport fees.

"These scammers are greedy," added Badgerow. "After collecting payment they will often ask for more funds, citing unexpected factors or costs. They are remorseless and devious."

Unfortunately, victims of the charade often wind up without a pet and out the money they paid. Anyone who believes they may be a victim is urged to report their case to the BBB and local authorities.

TIPS FOR BUYING A PET

Anyone considering purchasing a pet should not be discouraged by the warning; in fact, the BBB says there are several steps a person can take to ensure they get a dog from a reputable breeder.

- Don't immediately trust a slick website
- Research the business via BBB.org
- Ask the breeder for references
- Visit the breeder to see care conditions prior to purchase
- Be wary of any breeder that seems overly-concerned with payment
- Be especially wary of any breeder who demands wire transfers or prepaid credit cards
- Communicate clear payment expectations, preferably in writing
- Beware of ads with multiple misspellings and grammar errors

Additionally, anyone purchasing a pedigreed animal will want to ensure the breeder can provide registration documents with the American Kennel Club prior to purchase.

Any new pet should be brought to a veterinarian immediately for an independent examination, to receive all necessary vaccinations, and to set up a basic care plan.

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