Ohio couple tricked out of thousands of dollars from online pet scam

COLUMBUS — An Ohio couple is now out nearly $3,000 after trying to buy a Siberian Husky off a website.

Dwaine Tipton is a legally blind veteran who wanted a dog for emotional support, our news partners at WBNS-TV reported.

His wife, Wanda, said the dog was to keep him company when she wasn’t around.

After online shopping, Dwaine and Wanda found the dog they thought was a perfect match through a breeder from Oklahoma City.

“We contacted him and made arrangements. He priced the dog which was $850 and started the sequence right there,” Dwaine said.

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The couple was told to get in contact with the shipping company, Uship Royal, to make a down payment on shipping the dog to Ohio.

“(They wanted) $750, but the money was refundable at the time we pick him up at the Columbus airport,” Dwaine said.

But days later, the shipping company asked for more money.

The Tiptons couldn’t foot the bill, so were told they would be charged $50 a day to board the dog, according to WBNS.

“We kept getting phone calls every day saying can’t you borrow from your family, can’t you do this, can’t you do that. We kept telling them no,” Wanda said.

UShip Royal told the couple if they paid $2,300 they would reimburse them $5,000 when they picked up the dog.

The Tiptons never sent that money and asked for a refund of the money they’d already paid.

“They wouldn’t reimburse me the $2,700 that they owed me and that’s when I realized I was being scammed. So, as it stands right now, we have no dog, no money, no nothing back after all of this,” Dwaine said.

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The scam not only made them lose money but also impacted their mental health.

“Emotionally, it affected it a lot. I thought I was going to get a good support dog for the family and me. It’s just everything’s like the bottom dropped out of it,” Dwaine said.

The Better Business Bureau said pet scams are unfortunately very common.

“They are targeting anyone who is looking to get a particular breed at a low price,” Lee Anne Lanigan with the BBB said.

The BBB suggested the following tips to avoid falling victim to a scam:

  • Only purchase from a reputable dealer. Check BBB Business Profiles on BBB.org for complaints and customer reviews before you make the purchase.
  • Conduct a reverse image search of the picture of the pet you are considering
  • Avoid wiring money, or using a cash app or gift card
  • Do research to get a sense of a fair price for the breed you are considering
  • Consider reaching out to a local animal shelter

If you think you have been scammed you can report it to the BBB Scam Tracker.

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