NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Scammers are finding new ways to take advantage of lonely people amid the pandemic.
Some consumers have turned to the internet to look for a pet amid stay-at-home orders, but what they’ve found is a number of scams.
The New York Metro Better Business Bureau says it has received a number of complaints in which a person pays for an animal to be sent to their home, but the animal never is sent – nor does it even exist.
“What they're doing is putting out these very enticing advertisements on all kinds of media and social media and such. And people fall for it they, they sound good. You see these adorable pictures and they go, ‘oh my goodness, this would be perfect for me right now.’ Unfortunately, these puppies don't exist,” says Claire Rosenzweig, president of the New York BBB.
The scammers start out quite polite but then they hit customers up for one expense after another.
“They'll need money for special crates, they'll need money for a special insurance, they’ll even claim there is money needed for vaccines and it's always done in a step by step process,” she said.
People wire the money – and then find their hard-earned cash is gone with nothing in return.
Puppy scams, such as this, were the topic of a 2017 in-depth investigative study by BBB, and they are prolific during the holidays.
Rosenzweig recommends people who really want an animal contact the Humane Society or a reputable shelter.