Ohio Attorney General warns of online puppy scams

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(Fox 8 file photo)

COLUMBUS, Ohio– Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is warning residents about con artists who pose online as animal breeders.

The office received about 30 complaints in 2015 from people who bought a puppy online, but never received the animal. On average, consumers lost $1,200, according to the attorney general’s office.

“Scammers go online, post cute pictures of a puppy, and get you to feel connected to the dog, even though it’s all a scam,” Attorney General DeWine said. “I would encourage anyone to ask to see the dog in person before making any payments.”

DeWine said to be on the lookout for these warning signs:

  • Offers that are too good to be true, such as paying $650 for a puppy valued at $1,300.
  • Sellers who require payment via wire transfer or money order.
  • Extra costs for airline pet insurance or a temperature-controlled crate.
  • Unexpected delivery problems requiring additional payment.
  • Threats that you’ll be turned in for animal abuse or neglect if you don’t pay.

The office suggests researching the breeder through the Better Business Bureau, conducting an online image search for the puppy’s photo to see if it’s posted other place, and don’t trust sellers who only accept payment via money order, prepaid card or wire transfer.