Over the past several weeks, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office has received numerous reports of fraud involving citizens trying to purchase puppies on the internet.
The victims find an advertisement for an illegitimate website for the sale of puppies. Once the victim agrees to purchase the dog, the seller advises that they will need to purchase the dog using gift cards. Victims are instructed to go to a retail store and purchase hundreds of dollars’ worth of gift cards. The victim is then instructed to provide the gift card number and PIN to the seller.
Once the dog is paid for, the seller says the dog will have to be shipped to the victim from out of state. The victim is then contacted by an illegitimate transport company who further requests additional funds to be sent either by gift card or through money sharing apps like Zelle, PayPal, CashApp, or Venmo to cover shipping costs. The dog will never arrive and the victims have been scammed of several thousand dollars.
The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office urges citizens to be mindful of these scams. If someone is demanding you go purchase gift cards in order to make a payment, this is almost always a scam. Citizens are encouraged to do their research and due diligence whenever purchasing a pet or adopting from a reputable shelter or rescue organization.