Puppy sale scams popping up during pandemic

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Memphis woman says buyers showing up at her house, only to be let down

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Memphis woman says random people are showing up to her home, thinking they are there to pick up a puppy, only to be met with disappointment.

Experts say it may be a scam — and these puppy scams are increasing during the pandemic.

“It’s extremely bizarre,” said the woman, who did not want to be identified.

Over the last two weeks, she said, multiple people have showed up to her house thinking they were picking up a puppy. Not only does she not have a puppy, she never posted anything for sale on Facebook.

Initially she thought maybe the first visitors had the wrong address. Then another couple showed up at her house Tuesday. 

“I said, ‘Well I don’t have a puppy, I don’t understand what’s going on. Where did you get this information?'” she asked them.

The couple told her they saw a puppy posted for sale on Facebook with the woman’s address. They said they had paid someone $50. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are turning to our furry friend for emotional support. Or perhaps because you’re spending more time at home, you think this is the perfect time to get a pet. But beware, experts say, it’s also the perfect time to be the target of a scammer. 

“During the pandemic Better Business Bureaus across North America have seen a drastic increase in puppy scams,” said Nancy Crawford with the Mid-South Better Business Bureau.

She said one recent BBB study found up to 80% sites listing puppies for sale are fraudulent. Since January, at least 12 people have lost a total of $8,600 in similar scams.

Her advice: Try to see the animal in person before making any payment, do your research about the seller and never use giftcards or apps like Cash App or Venmo to pay the seller.

The woman who keeps having people shows up at her house agrees — do proper research. She’s tired of letting people down.

“You can see the despair and the sadness in their faces when you tell them, ‘I don’t have a dog for you,'” she said.

The woman said she has no idea why someone might’ve listed her address. She called police about the bizarre incident, and they told her to be firm when telling hopeful buyers she has nothing to do with any puppy sales. 

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