CLEVELAND - A Lorain mother of four was planning to surprise her husband with a new English bulldog puppy, but she ended up receiving the surprise instead.
Jessica, 32, found an ad on Facebook for a free English Bulldog. The deal was great because that particular type of breed normally sells for several thousands.
So, Jessica responded to the ad right away. Upfront, she was told she just needed to pay shipping costs for the dog.
That's where the scam started.
Originally she gave the company $1,500 for the dog. Then the company told her they needed more money for shots and medical bills. Before Jessica realized it, she had given the company nearly $6,500.
She sent so much money to the company that her electricity was cut off.
The only form of communication Jessica had with the owner was via email and text messages.
The Better Business Bureau has tips on how avoid scams just like this:
Beware of ads with multiple misspellings and grammatical errors. Many pet scams come from overseas and scammers often do not have a firm grasp on the English language.
- Do not be swayed by websites that appear to be professional or display photos of available pets. Photos are easily lifted from other legitimate breeder sites.
- Scammers frequently offer "free" pets or claim they need to find a home for the animal due to relocation, deployment overseas, illness, or other hardship scenario.
- Do not send or wire money to people you do not know.
- If purchasing a pedigreed pet, be sure the breeder provides documentation of the parents' registration with the appropriate kennel club. This ensures that the pet is in fact a legitimate pure-bred animal. It is then your responsibility to register your pet with the appropriate kennel club.
Jessica never received her puppy nor recovered any money she lost.