Local “dog breeder” scamming people across the country

Recordings of the CBS7 News at 6 broadcast.
Published: Aug. 14, 2023 at 6:54 PM CDT
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ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) -The Permian Basin has an animal problem. Shelters are at capacity, and dogs are being bussed to other states where there is a demand for pets.

So, it would be a good thing for a dog to get adopted out of the Permian Basin, but for one woman who tried to do just that, it turned out to be a bad thing.

She was scammed out of over a thousand dollars and a new family dog.

Stepahnie Connor previously purchased a puppy through a dog breeder before. So she knew the process.

However, this time, she wanted a West Highland Terrier puppy for her kids.

After answering questions, filling out documents, sending the payment, receiving a tracking number of the pups shipment, it seemed like Pepper the Puppy would soon have a new family.

But then, she found out that it was a scam.

“My kids were so excited. My daughter was so proud of herself for finding this website and she was like, it’s all me. I’m the reason why we’re getting pepper. You know I get to hold him first and was so excited. And then when we realized it was a scam, now she blames herself.” said scam victim, Stephanie Connor.

Connor lives in Illinois, but the person who she contacted had an address in Odessa.

The scammer and the shipping company since then have not contacted her back. Connor did request $1,000 through zelle back from the scammer. But it was declined.

She spoke to local police and they told her the person whose name is on the address she got does not match the person that scammed her.

“They pay, and then they don’t hear from them. And unfortunately, a lot of times, that puppy never existed.” said Devin Benavidez, Regional Director for the Permian Basin at the Better Business Bureau.

Benavidez said there are ways to make sure if it’s a scam or not.

“We say, if possible, you need to see the pet in person before paying any money. And if you can’t do it in person, then try to setup a video call.” said Benavidez.

Benavidez said you can also conduct a reverse image search to see if the images are from another website.

Connor said she did that but still wasn’t able to catch on to their scam.

“it made me feel less about the world. this can’t be fixed and it’s just evil. it’s an evil thing that people are doing.” said Connor.

Connor says she’s fortunate that she wasn’t scammed for more money and she wants people to know to double check everything before making big purchases online.