Scammers to blame for Craigslist puppies that never arrived

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - All Bonnie Bates can do is comfort her daughter, Jessica. Severely injured in a car wreck 35 years ago when she was four, Jessica was looking forward to a new puppy to replace a dog she lost earlier this year. 

On Craigslist, Jessica and her mother found this Alaskan Malamute for sale in Utah. His name -- Roy. He would be Bonnie's gift to her daughter, but there was never a dog named Roy for sale on Craigslist. 

It started when Mrs. Bates went online earlier this month searching for a pet. 

Within a hour, she was sent this picture of Roy from his owner in Provo, Utah. The price was reasonable considering the breed. 

"They told me it was $500 for the dog. This is the Amazon card I got. It was for $500. After that, she told me that I would have to have a crate," said Bates. 

It was a special animal crate costing $1,250, plus $250 to vaccinate the puppy. Bates wired the money by Western Union, but the scammers weren't done.  

"They call me back the next day, and they tell me they don't have a small crate. That I would have to have a bigger one," said Bates.

For that crate, Bates wired even more money and a thank you note to keep the scam going. Next, Bates was expecting to receive Roy, but no dog ever shows up. 

The scammers went another step -- there was now an insurance fee. 

"And when I called and asked about him, they want another $1,500 for me to get him," said Bates. 

This is when she decided that enough was enough. 

Bates and her daughter Jessica will now look for a rescue or shelter puppy for Christmas. 

Yorkie in Texas, labeled as a 'guarantee'

In a similar case, Amy Minnear and her husband, Trey, wired $250 for a Yorkie that they found on Craigslist in August of last year. The puppy was supposedly in Tennessee, but the dog's owner said he moved to El Paso, Texas. 

"I thought it was a good deal, it said guaranteed on it. I thought it was for sure a deal," said Trey Minnear.

The Minnears wired $520 for a crate and to fly the puppy to the McGhee Tyson Airport. But the Yorkie never came -- it was a scam. 

Pomeranian siblings for $250 each 

More than three years ago, Lindsey Moses and Hailey Taylor found two Pomeranian pups for sale online in Houston, Texas for $250 a piece. They wired the money.

Then new information arrived, $800 was needed to buy crates. They sent that money too, but, like the others, the pups never arrived.

Craigslist scam takeaways 

After the scam involving the Alaskan Malamute, Roy, Bonnie Bates warns that if you find an animal for a cheap price on Craigslist or Facebook, you should be careful. Never wire money -- that's a red flag. 

Pet scammers use Western Union or Money Gram as a method of payment because they are untraceable and non-refundable. The pets are often very inexpensive. The scammers will spoof websites from trusted transport companies as a way to fly the animals to Knoxville. 

Before sending money or organizing shipping for a pet being sold online, always do your research. 

The best advice when looking for a puppy: shop locally. 




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