Online kitten adoption scams Beaver Twp. woman out of $1,500 - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Online kitten adoption scams Beaver Twp. woman out of $1,500

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Adopting an animal online has never been easier- or more dangerous. 

During the holiday months, as many shoppers turn adorable pets to help make their family's Christmases bright, pet scams increase in frequency. 

One Beaver Township woman found herself the victim of an adoption scam- after being promised a Maine Koon kitten. 

The victim told police she found a kitten online and contacted the seller. 

The seller, whose name was listed as Franklin Tasa allegedly told her that the kitten was available for $500, which would include the cost of shipping the animal from Dallas to her home in Beaver Twp. 

The victim reportedly wired the money to Tasa, but then didn't receive the kitten. 

According to a police report, the victim then got a call from the delivery company stating that they needed an additional $1,000 in order to ship the cat. 

The victim then reportedly sent a money gram and received confirmation from the "delivery company". She was allegedly told that the kitten would arrive by Sunday around noon. 

However, when the kitten was not delivered the victim called the police. 

Shortly after, the woman got another phone call from a person claiming to be the delivery company, saying that the kitten could not be shipped until a $2,500 insurance fee was paid. 

According to the report, the woman asked for her money back from Tasa but never received an answer. 

Police say the woman was the victim of fraud, and that officers will be investigating. 

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the Beaver Township victim will become one of just hundreds this holiday season. 

According to their website: 

Don't be fooled: Internet puppy scammers attract potential buyers with cute photos and phony promises. Hundreds of complaints are filed every year from victims who were scammed when buying a dog online—the puppy you receive may not be the puppy you agreed to buy, or you may not receive a puppy at all. Internet scams range from fake "free to good home" ads where the buyer is asked to pay for shipping, only to never see that puppy they tried to help, to breeders posing as sanctuaries or rescues, but charging upwards of $1,000 in "adoption" fees.

The site goes on to say "The best way to avoid being scammed is to adopt.  But should you decide to purchase a pet, never buy one you haven't met in person."

The ASPCA has a few tips listed on their website to help prevent pet scams:

  • Always visit. Responsible breeders and rescue groups will be more than happy to offer you a tour.
  • Pick your puppy up at the kennel, rather than having the puppy shipped or meeting the seller at a random location.
  • Check references, including others who have purchased pets from this breeder and the veterinarian the breeder works with.
  • Deal directly with a breeder, not a broker.
  • Never send Western Union or money order payments.
  • If you are told that there will be no refunds for a sick puppy, you are most likely dealing with a puppy mill. A reputable breeder or rescue group will always take the puppy back, regardless of the reason.

Animal advocates always suggest checking your local animal shelter or pound before turning to online pet shopping. 

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