Better Business Bureau: It's a dog-eat-dog world of scams

May 16, 2013 

When Rob put his cute dachshund puppies up for sale, he knew he was going to get a lot of interest.

"They're just a pretty breed, and people like them because they are a good lap dog," he said.

With five little guys, he wanted to make certain each had a good home. On Saturday, the inquiries started. By late afternoon, he'd received numerous requests - both locally and out of area.

The most interesting was offering to pay $50 to reserve a puppy, sight unseen. The lady, Jessica Smith, said she was in New York.

In an email, she wrote: "The money order will be in your name to make it easier for you to cash and as soon as you receive the money order, i will like you to cash it then deduct the money for the puppy and send the remaining balance to my shipper agent via western union money transfer so he can contact you immediately for the pick up arrangement at your place."

There are 67 words in this sentence - it's blistered with grammatical, noun-verb, conjugation and punctuation errors.

After talking with Rob, he decided that he'd rather deal with someone locally. His pups deserved the best homes.

"Apparently, she was using the shipping/cash-this-money-order scam," he said.

The money order was to be written out in his name for more than purchase price. He was to take it to the bank, cash it and send money to the shipper agent by Western Union.

Better Business Bureau reminds you that if any transaction seems questionable, call us. We'll help you discern the situation and its legitimacy.

Consider these points:

• Deal locally: If someone wants to buy your car or puppy, decide how far you will go to transact with someone across or out of the country. Know whom you're dealing with and never wire money to strangers.

• Don't play bank with the buyer. If you're selling something, don't accept a check for more than the selling price, no matter how tempting the offer. Ask the buyer to write the check for the correct amount. If the buyer refuses to send the correct amount, return the check. Don't send the merchandise.

• Cash is king. If in doubt and you're concerned about accepting counterfeit cash, ask the buyer to meet you at your bank so the bills can be authenticated.

• No wire transfers. If the buyer insists that you wire back funds, end the transaction immediately. Legitimate buyers don't pressure you to send money by wire transfer services. In addition, you have little recourse if there's a problem with a wire transaction.

• Resist any pressure to "act now." If the buyer's offer is good now, it should be good after the check clears.

Robb Hicken: 947-2115

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