Whitesburg KY

2 classified ads for dogs are work of scam artists

Two classified advertisements published in last week’s Mountain Eagle appear to be scams. Both advertised puppies for sale and only provided an e-mail address as a contact.

Becky Lucas of Colson saw the two advertisements — one for an English bulldog and one for a teacup Yorkshire terrier puppy — and sent e-mails to both advertisers asking for more information. Both responded with similar stories explaining that they were on missionary trips in Africa and couldn’t take care of the puppies because of weather-related problems.

Both advertisers offered to ship the puppies if a potential new owner first sent them $350 to cover the shipping fees.

Lucas said she thought the offers sounded too good to be true, but decided to get more information. She said English bulldogs usually sell for between $1,500 and $2,000.

“I guess it is just a nationwide scam that is going on,” said Lucas. “Money is too hard to come by to be scammed out of it.”

Dana Outlaw, president of Pawz and Clawz Humane Society of Letcher County, also e-mailed the seller about the Yorkshire terrier puppy.

“I e-mailed this guy about the Yorkies and knew there was something that wasn’t right,” said Outlaw. “You can’t ship Yorkies, especially from Africa. I have three Yorkies and I have to feed them every few hours because their blood sugar gets low because they are so small.”

The advertisement for the teacup Yorkie puppy was placed using Relay, a service where a phone operator relays information between the deaf, hard of hearing, and speech-impaired to hearing persons. The operator types what the hearing person says to the deaf person and reads what the deaf person types to the hearing person.

According to www.stoprelayabuse.com, overseas criminal gangs use Internet Relay service to scam U.S. businesses and individuals and Relay operators estimate that at least half of all Internet Relay calls are either fraudulent or obscene.

The advertisement for the English bulldog puppy

was placed using The

Mountain Eagle’s website. Both ads were paid for by credit card. One of the credit cards has been verified as stolen.

Eugene Slone, a victims’ advocate with the Letcher County Sheriff ‘s Department, said he will contact the Kentucky Attorney General’s office about the latest puppy scam to hit Letcher County.

“There are people that sit around and have nothing better to do than to scam people out of money,” said Slone. “It’s hard to stay one step ahead of some of these people.”

Slone cautions people to be aware of similar scams and to never wire money.

“Use wisdom anytime they are wanting you to send money for services promised that they are going to mail or ship you,” said Slone.

Slone asks that anyone who thinks they may have found a scam to call the sheriff’s department at 633- 2293.

“If you suspect that something isn’t right contact us and we’ll figure out if it is legitimate,” said Slone.

The Mountain Eagle will no longer accept classified ads if a working phone number isn’t provided.

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