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Pet Scams on Rise in New Hampshire

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Thursday, August 20, 2020   

CONCORD, N.H. -- People trying to buy purebred puppies and kittens online should beware of a scam that's already hit half a dozen New Hampshirites in the past few months.

Ads online promise big discounts on hard-to-find or expensive breeds. They insist on using a mobile payment app such as Zelle and often come up with last-minute expenses such as a special shipping crate, and then disappear without delivering the animal.

Brandon Garod, senior assistant attorney general and chief of the state's Consumer Protection Antitrust Bureau said it's better to avoid buying a pet online.

"If you can find a local breeder or a local rescue where you can actually visit the dog, lay eyes on the person that is selling the dog, confirm that the dog exists, that would be the preference," Garod said.

Some people have been ripped off for more than a thousand dollars.

Recent complaints in New Hampshire involve ads for Pomeranians, Bernese Mountain Dogs and Maine Coon Cats.

The complaints have gone up during the pandemic, as many people have decided to adopt a new pet to combat loneliness during the quarantine.

Garod said if you do buy from someone out of state, insist on talking to the seller on the phone, ask a ton of questions and check the seller's references.

"If the person won't talk to you on the phone, isn't able to provide a lot of details or isn't able to answer basic questions about the animal you're trying to buy and really only wants to talk about money, then it is probably a scam. Those are warning signs," Garod added.

Misspellings or grammatical errors in the ad, or a request for payment by gift card also are signs that you could be dealing with a scammer.

If you have fallen victim, you can report it to your local police department and to the New Hampshire Attorney General's Consumer Protection Antitrust Bureau.


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