Call 11 For Action: Puppy scam targets animal lovers - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Call 11 For Action: Puppy scam targets animal lovers

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TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - A Toledo woman contacted Call 11 for Action to make sure we got the word out about a scam that plays on people's love of animals.

Dawn Whitney narrowly missed a victim of the scam when she responded to an ad from a local newspaper that offered two Yorkie puppies for free.

"I'm sure people have fallen prey to this and have answered this ad and sent money to these people for a dog that they're never going to get - so that's the sad part of it," said Dawn Whitney, scam victim.

Whitney e-mailed a response to the ad and quickly received an e-mail back containing pictures of cute puppies. But when she read the e-mail she quickly realized it was a scam.

"They e-mailed me back immediately, saying ‘Greetings from the House of the Lord and they kind of used religion to snag you," said Whitney.

But Whitney suspected the validity of the message.

"Red flags went up right there, I mean, who sends e-mails like that. It's really sad that they use God and they take advantage of people," said Whitney.  "They said the dogs were free, and then the next e-mail they said I had to pay half the shipping because where they were the weather didn't allow them to keep the dogs."

The e-mail had other red flags including bad grammar and misspellings, requests for personal information, and a claim by the scammer that his family is out of the country.

WTOL responded to the ad with an e-mail and received an e-mail back word for word exactly the same response Dawn got. Then I e-mailed again and asked for a phone number to call but received no response.

It is easier to avoid falling into scams if you remember one thing:  If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

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