LAS VEGAS - Natalie Ward loves her two dogs Terrance and Joey. For her, these dogs are part of the family. Natalie wanted to grow her family with a new cocker spaniel puppy. She turned to Craigslist and found an adorable puppy. She knew he was the one.
"I just thought he was super cute," Natalie said.
Smitten with the little guy, she emailed the seller for details. She received an odd reply.
The poster said he lived in Little Rock, Arkansas, was experiencing family problems and needed money. Natalie said the man told her he could get her the dog right away.
"I just felt that it was actually kind of gross, very sick that he would write that his family was in a car accident, and his daughter had this puppy, and now she's in the hospital," she said. "(He) proceeded to say at the end, you know, that he would ship the dog and I'd have it between five and six hours in front of my doorstep at my house."
Natalie suspected it was a scam and didn't send the man money, but the emotional damage was done. She fell in love with the puppy, but came away empty handed.
"I think it's disgusting that somebody would write something like that," she said. "Obviously, that's working or else he wouldn't continue to post things or respond to people like that."
Scams like this one are very common online. Scammers use cute puppy pictures and reel in unsuspecting animal lovers with a great price. Popular breeds are often used, and the buyers never get the animals they pay for. Consumer experts urge people to buy animals locally to avoid getting scammed.
Natalie says she's learned a valuable lesson, but it won't keep her from trying to find the perfect puppy to add to her family.
"I'll just go right to the rescue sites," she said. "At least you know they're being taken care of, and their shots are up to date and all that, and that's where I'll look."
If you have a consumer complaint you want investigated, contact 8 on Your Side at 650-1907 or email us.