KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As more and more people go online to find their four-legged companions, crooks are leaving prospective pet owners penniless and puppy-less.
A recently released BBB study showed 80 percent of sponsored advertising links in searches for pets are for fraudulent sites.
One such site was reported in the Kansas City area by a victim who paid but never received a puppy. The website for Miley's English Bulldogs features precious puppies that could be yours at a discount.
"Fifty percent puppy discount. Too good to be true," Aaron Reese of the BBB said while scrolling through the site.
Our call to the Colorado number listed on the Miley Bulldogs Facebook page went unanswered. Further searches showed some of the puppy pictures were actually pulled from Pinterest, and a photo of owners "Maria and Mirach Filipova" was stolen, too.
"That one I am aware of, and I've already filed a dispute with their hosting company," Dawn Castillo, who is actually in the photo, said.
Castillo and her husband own Castlewood Bulldogs, a legitimate breeding business. She told 41 Action News scammers steal their photos almost every week.
"Some will even keep our names and just change the contact information, so yeah, it's pretty unnerving," Castillo said.
The BBB found it's not only unnerving but also way more sophisticated than they initially thought.
"We do now know that it's way more organized than we thought it was. It is part of an organized crime group," Reese said.
To make sure you don't fall victim to scammers, the BBB recommends buyers:
- Google image search the pictures of dogs to make sure they're not stolen
- Never wire transfer money for a pet
- Be wary of sites with no contact information posted