BBB Warns Puppy Scams Are On The Rise In Connecticut

Since January, Connecticut consumers claim to have lost nearly $6,000 in online puppy scams, as reported through the BBB’s Scam Tracker

A Connecticut woman wants others to be aware after she and her husband lost hundreds of dollars trying to purchase puppies.

Losing a pet is like losing a family member. Amy Beaulieu and her husband know that first hand.

“We lost our 13-year-old pug Penelope in October, 2018 and we were devastated,” Beaulieu said.

It was a painful experience for the Beaulieus to put down their pug. In January, the couple spotted some adorable little pugs for sale online.

“We’re reading the website, texting back and forth with them. We picked two puppies,” said Beaulieu.

On the company’s website, Jason’s Pug home, it details how the business raises pugs in their home posting these pictures of the pups.

When we asked if they ever used a website before to buy a pug, Beaulieu replied, “Never.”

Beaulieu said the male and female pugs cost $650 each.

“I questioned as to why they were so inexpensive. He said it was because it was Texas and no one’s willing to pay that much money for pugs in the South as compared to the Northeast,” said Beaulieu.

The couple was instructed to send a $400 deposit through their United bank cash app.

“Eventually, he called one time and I said I have some concerns about the texting and this sounds a little bit too good to be true. And he assured me, it’s fine we’re a family business. Everything’s safe,” said Beaulieu.

Beaulieu said she didn’t hear anything after that.

“We were pretty angry about it and felt a little bit naïve too,” added Beaulieu.

She filed a police report, a claim with her bank and the Better Business Bureau. Beaulieu said: “We discovered his website on pet scam.”

According to the BBB, 80 percent of sponsored pet advertisements may be fake and the internet may not always be the best way to purchase a pet. The agency says since January of this year, Connecticut consumers claim to have lost nearly $6,000 in online puppy scams, as reported through the BBB’s Scam Tracker.

Beaulieu is now content with 4-month-old Milo and 12-week-old Apple. She purchased the pups through the American Kennel Club and wants to warn others before they buy a pet online.

“When you’re in a vulnerable situation after losing a beloved family pet, just be cautious, listen to, listen to your gut, and do thorough research,” said Beaulieu.

NBC Connecticut Responds reached out to the alleged owner of Jason’s Pub home multiple times for comment. We’re still waiting to hear back.

The BBB serving Connecticut has this advice to help consumers avoid falling for a puppy scam.

  • Don't buy a pet without seeing it in person. Do an internet search of the picture of the pet you are looking to purchase. If the same picture appears on multiple websites, you may be dealing with a scam.
  • Never pay a stranger through a money order, Western Union or Moneygram. Always use a credit card in case you need to dispute the charges. If the seller demands payment through other methods that you don't feel comfortable with, you may want to find another seller.
  • Make sure prices make sense. Research prices for the breed you are interested in adopting. If someone is advertising a purebred dog for free or at a deep discount, it could be a scam.
  • Research the seller and obtain references. Visit bbb.org to check the reputation of an online seller or breeder. Ask the breeder for references and contact people who have bought puppies from them in the past.
  • Consider adopting or buying locally. Visit your local shelter and see if rescuing a dog may be right for you. When you purchase an animal from out-of-state without seeing it first, there is no way to know how healthy or young it is, or even if the pet exists at all.
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