BOISE (KBOI) — A new puppy, just in time for the holidays, is a gift that pulls at the heart strings. And, unfortunately, con artists know that, too.
A Treasure Valley man says he was duped out of more than $1,000.
But, the man, Ken Mansfield, says the Pets for Kings website met all his requirements.
“It was colorful, and they have lots of pictures of beautiful dogs, they’re all very pretty looking,” Mansfield said. “Glowing reviews, a wonderful dog, well taken care of, you know, great temperament, all of that kind of stuff.”
It didn’t take him long to find one, he says, so he starts asking questions.
“There’s a chat window that opens up when you select say French Bulldogs like we were, and then it pops up, so how can I help you,” Mansfield said.
Ken says he and the breeder chat for a while and then the issue of payment comes up.
“They wanted to get paid through Google pay, so I didn’t have that,” Mansfield said. “I’d heard it was reputable and all that. So, we downloaded the app, and we bought the dog through Google pay. And, we had to wait until it was processed.”
The dog was $1,150, but this wasn’t what bothered Ken.
On the day the dog was supposed to be flown into Boise, Ken says the shipping company contacted him that the crate the dog is in won’t work.
“If we wanted to purchase a $3,000 shipping crate or a $500 shipping crate or, you know, different versions of that kind of shipping crate, then we get the dog,” Mansfield said.
At this point, with over a $1,000 already lost, Ken says he knew something was wrong.
“I felt sad because we weren’t getting the dog, because we really wanted to get a dog,” Mansfield said. “But, on the other hand I was sort of angry at myself more than anything else, like how foolish, am I to be taken in by this. But, then I thought, in retrospect, these guys are really clever.”
The Better Business Bureau here in Boise says another local person claims to have been taken by pet kings.
“We see this all too often where these sites are coming up, they post cute pictures of dogs in hopes of getting your money, and then, either the site gets shut down and they put up another one, or they continue to run the scam,” said Rebecca Barr with the Better Business Bureau.
But there is something BBB says can help weed out websites like this.
“You also really want to go do a google image search,” Barr said. “So, you can search for that image online to see what’s popping up and other places. A lot of times, scammers will use the same photos on their websites that they’ve just pulled from other places.”
It’s tips like this one Ken says he’ll pay more attention to in the future.
“I think the main thing is to not take everything online for face value and due your due diligence,” Mansfield said. “Do some research. If it looks too good to be true, like they always say, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”
If you’ve experienced a situation you believe is illegal when buying something, you can contact the BBB through their website.