Sometimes the ad offers a free puppy.
Or, maybe a pure bred dog needs a new home.
The scam works like this: although the dogs are "free," the seller will ask to be wired money in advance so the puppy can be safely shipped to its new owner. Some victims have even gone to the airport to pick up their new pet only to discover there is no dog and they've been scammed.
A recent version of the "puppy scam" offered two registered English Bulldogs "free to a good home." Fortunately, the scammer's attempt was thwarted because an alert Southern Oregon newspaper editor publisher smelled something fishy and refused to run the ad.
The puppy scam relies on the best intentions of animal lovers. Another version of the puppy scam involves a con artist posing as a "puppy mill rescue group". These ads claim to be seeking good homes for a batch of purebred puppies rescued from a puppy mill. In reality it is the puppy mill operator who has posted the ad and is looking to cash in – sometimes asking $1,000 or more per puppy.
For more information about other puppy scams, and expert advice on humane pet adoption please check out the ASPCA Web site.
Anyone who believes they have been approached by a scammer should call the Oregon Department of Justice Consumer Hotline at 1-877-877-9392 or go to the Department's Web site: www.oregonattorneygeneral.gov.