Puppy scammers targeting Facebook groups

MARTINSVILLE, Ind. — Puppy scammers are getting creative this holiday season, with some of them targeting the Facebook groups you may belong too.

Members in one Martinsville group found one scammer sneaking into their city sales groups.

The two ads showing puppies for sale are identical in information, but the pictures are two different pups. When FOX59 looked into the profile posting the ad, we saw that their “liked” Facebook groups were all neighborhood sales groups from around the country.

We took a screenshot, and within 30 seconds, the profile was gone.

“Yeah, it disappeared on me as well,” said Shelby Mace who warned her fellow neighbors online. “I said it was a scam on the post. I even tried to send that profile a friend request, and it said there was an error, and something went wrong.”

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) said these types of scams happen often. The seller claims to have an adorable puppy for sale, with it likely to arrive by transport. They often ask for odd forms of payment, and once the money arrives, excuses follow.

“The puppy has to have some sort of import charge, or theres some sort of vet inspection,” described Tim Maniscalo of the Better Business Bureau. “They will have no end to their excuses, and the puppy never exists.”

A BBB investigation showed that most of these scams originate in the African country of Cameroon. The top three dogs used were French bulldogs, Yorkshire Terriers, and Pomeranians.

Indianapolis Animal Control Services (IACS) said scams like these deter people from adopting puppies at their shelter.

IACS is often at or near capacity, and in dire need of adoptions. Workers there say adopting a pet is a lot like meeting a human and the interaction is just as important to the future bond.

“When you meet a new person sometimes you don’t get along, sometimes you do,” Laura Keith Williams at IACS said, “It takes adopters away from our shelters, and other shelters, that can offer basic medical care, some history on the animal.”

The BBB says these are highly intelligent crime organizations that know how to monitor your wants online, and that the only way to stop them is to be educated.