Cameroon puppy adoption scam could chew up your savings

stephanie's puppyYour BBB recently received a report of a suspicious ad on Craigslist. The seller was advertising dogs to be shipped to the Midland/Odessa area, but the consumer was asked to wire $160.98 to Douala, Cameroon via Western Union. Serious red flag, right off the bat.

If the consumer had sent the money, it could have meant a loss of just $160.98. If they were trusting enough, or a big enough dog lover, it could have cost much more.

A scam is making the rounds that involves ads for puppies, exotic animals, or other pets. The scammer typically advertises the animal at a discount, but asks for an upfront payment to cover shipping.

If the consumer pays the shipping fee, the scammer will then find other ways to get money: The puppy is quarantined at an airport and being mistreated and won’t be released without a fee, the puppy is being held by customs and won’t be released without a fee, a new kind of insurance is now required, etc.

Scammers are sometimes able to extract hundreds of dollars from consumers before they finally get suspicious and stop sending money.

BBB advises consumers to beware of wiring money for any purpose. Wiring money is a legitimate way to transfer money, but if you wire money to someone who isn’t trustworthy, it’s gone forever.