What to watch out for

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Florida Sheriff’s Office is warning residents of puppy scams. They outline what to look out for and some other tips for adding a furry companion to the family.

The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office said it has received dozens of complaints about puppy-related scams across the county.

In recent cases, they said victims responded to advertisements on sites like Craigslist and social media platforms. The victims showed interest in a puppy for sale and went to reserve the puppy with a deposit or the full amount. At this point, the seller disappears.

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The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office and Flagler Beach Police Department are teaming up to educate the community on preventative measures, including teaching residents how to verify a legitimate business and how to protect yourself and your family from harm. scam.

There are a number of red flags that they said you should watch out for:

  • “The seller prefers to manage the communication only by e-mail and not by phone.”
  • “Photos posted of the dogs or shared with potential buyers are archival photos. Photos and descriptions of the animal can be found on several websites.”
  • “Non-traditional payment requests, where the seller requests a money transfer or gift card payment.”
  • “The price is too good to be true.”

Other recent cases have also reportedly included fraudulent American Kennel Club (AKC) documents in which the seller claimed the puppies were AKC certified. However, animals registered by KC will always be listed through the AKC. AKC certification can also be verified by calling 919-233-9767 or visiting www.akc.org.

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The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office and Flagler Beach Police Department have also provided the following tips when finding a puppy or dog to add to the family:

  • “Ask for several photos of the animal, including poses with specific objects such as a recent newspaper or a tennis ball, to make sure the animal is real.”
  • “Ask for a phone number for the person selling / re-welcoming the animal and the name of the veterinary clinic where the animal was seen. If the seller does not give the number or it is not a US number , then it’s probably a scam! If you are given phone numbers, remember and ask questions. “
  • “If the seller says it’s in a specific condition and asks you to send money somewhere else, especially to another country, avoid it.”
  • “If the person is claiming to be a breeder or a rescue organization, ask for registration information. (All legitimate businesses and non-profit organizations will be registered with SunBiz and the Department of Agriculture). You can check at: https: //dos.myflorida .com / sunbiz / search / “
  • “Never pay cash by money order or Western Union. Always use a credit card in case you need to dispute a charge.”
  • “Be skeptical if the seller adds” extra charges “such as fees for vet visits, a different fund, travel expenses, pet insurance, etc. Pet insurance is NOT required for a pet to travel. “
  • “Don’t trust a salesperson pressuring for the sale to happen quickly because of their move, the need to rehouse the animal immediately, or the claim that the puppy can be hurt if not. not taken in a timely manner. “
  • “Do your research to get an idea of ​​the breed you are looking for, the vendor, agency, organization or rescue you select, and make sure you understand what that comes with the cost.”

Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly added, “It saddens me to see people fall into this level of animal use to make quick money. some large local organizations that can help you adopt a pet, like the Flagler Humane Society, so if you are considering adopting, be sure to select a reputable organization or person.

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As of 2020, law enforcement has said ten cases of puppy fraud have been reported to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office and 20 more to the Flagler Beach Police Department.

Watch FOX 35 Orlando for the latest news from Central Florida.


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