I Was Almost Scammed by an Online Puppy Seller
Dogs are kind of like guns or motorcycles for me, as-in "one is great, but two or three (or more) are even better." We already have three dogs at my house. A chocolate Lab, a Miniature Schnauzer and a Bulldog/Shitzu mix (yes... a bulls---). Do we really need another dog? Probably not. Would I like to get another one? Yes. I figure it's similar to having kids. If you already have two or three, what's a 4th? My wife would have a dozen dogs if city limit rules and space constraints weren't an issue.
I know there are lots of dogs in the pound - and you can give me hell all you like for not adopting one - but I am kind of set on getting another Boston Terrier. I've owned two. The first one, Sally O'Malley, got to live with my ex-girlfriend after we parted ways a long time ago. The second Boston was Bob. He was great little guy and lived to be about 9 before we had to put him down because he got debilitating tumors in his hindquarters. That was a sad day. It always is when our furry companions pass over the rainbow bridge.
I'm a member of this Bostons of Big Sky Facebook fan page. It's mostly people in Montana posting pictures of their dogs, but every once in a while someone will have a litter of pups available. A lady posted some pictures yesterday of a litter of puppies, so I sent her a FB message to ask if there were any females available. Here's how it went down:
Me: I'm interested in your Boston pups, do you have any females available?
Her: Please where are you located Michael?
Me: We're in Laurel/Billings. You?
Her: Laurel, Mississippi?
Me: Laurel, Montana
Her: Okay i am in Livingston, MT
Me: Nice! When are the pups ready and how much are you asking for a female?
Her: They are ready now but I am planning to let them go on Friday. A female goes for $600 with a refundable deposit of 200 either through PayPal, google pay, or cash app for papers and change of ownership plus reservation
Me: That sound fair. Would you be able to send me a picture of the girls?
THIS IS WHERE ALARM BELLS START TO GO OFF. She sent me a weird picture of a puppy that was clearly ripped off the internet somewhere and the puppy in the picture she sent had very obvious differences in the markings than the picture she posted of the litter in their pen. It clearly did not match ANY of the puppies in the litter.
Her: are you interested?
Me: I am, but to be honest with you, I'm a little hesitant. Those pictures of the puppy with the stuffed animal don't really look like any of the ones in your original post. There are so many scams of Facebook, that I have alarm flags going off, lol. Do you have a local phone number that we could chat?
Her: (gives me an Virginia area code number) just the background okay
Me: Hmm, I'm not comfortable sending cash via the internet to a stranger with a facebook profile created just today. Please don't take that the wrong way. I would be happy to meet you in-person with cash to see a puppy in Big Timber?
Her: (thumbs up) okay. my account wasn't created today
Me: my bad, please don't take offense. When could we meet in Big Timber?
Her: Friday is okay by me but the truth is I can't keep a puppy for you without the deposit.
Me: Understood. Are you new to Livingston?
Her: I am not new.
Me: I'm going to pass, sorry for wasting your time. Have a great day (smiley face emoji).
Her: (thumbs up sign)
So many red flags on this conversation. She claimed to be a long-time Livingston resident but didn't know where Laurel/Billings was and had an out-of-state phone number. The picture of the female puppy she sent was not a real picture. She insisted on a digital payment and dodged meeting me in person to preview a puppy. I alerted the admin of the Facebook page where the lady had posted the pups, warning her that it appeared to be a scam and she promptly flagged the post that is almost certainly a scam.
Just a reminder to anyone considering buying a puppy online: reputable breeders will always send legitimate pictures, videos, provide references, lineage, etc. Be extremely wary of any sellers that don't. And if you happen to come across anyone in Montana that is selling an actual Boston Terrier pup, will you please let me know? Thanks!