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BBB warning Oklahomans about online pet scams

OKLAHOMA CITY – Business experts are warning the public after receiving several complaints and scam reports regarding pet scams.

“With the holiday season in full swing a new pet could be an ideal addition to your family,” said Kitt Letcher, President & CEO of BBB.  “Unfortunately, this is one of the scams that we see increasing across the nation, and for some reason a lot of scammers choose to say they’re from Oklahoma.”

The companies, whose websites have all been taken down after the initial investigation was launched by BBB, are:
·         Platinum Yorkies
·         Sam’s Goldens
·         Empire Goldens
·         Duncan Paws.
BBB cites multiple red flags found during the investigation:
·         Poorly constructed website with considerable grammatical errors.
·         Avoiding answering direct questions.  Multiple questions went ignored/avoided and unanswered during the course of BBB’s investigation.  Including questions as to discrepancies in the location of the business, contact number area code in one state while the breeders address was in another, and not providing additional pictures.
·         Suspiciously low prices. A business claims to be selling puppies of a certain breed for a dramatically lower price than the breed would be typically expected.
·         Payment methods. The business requires payment through Walmart-to-Walmart wire transfer, Western Union, and Moneygram, to name a few.  BBB always recommends making a purchase with a credit card, not a debit card, as to allow for the built in protections offered by that financial institution.  Using wire transfer payments is dangerous to consumers because once the money has left your account, there is no way of ensuring you’ll ever see it again.
·         Photos. The pictures of the puppies for sale were pulled from other websites.  By right clicking on an image listed on the scammers websites and selecting “Search Google for this image” multiples of the same image appear on different websites.
·         Location. A company may list a certain address, but the address provided shows as a private residence unconnected to the website and “company”, or the address of a different business altogether.
Instead, officials say that you should avoid buying a pet online, get a referral and make sure you reverse search the images. Also, read through the contract thoroughly, visit the breeder first and beware of breeders who seem overly concerned with getting paid.