LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WKBW) — Last June, August and Mike Monagan-Allan paid a local dog breeder nearly $4,000 for a puppy, only to find out later they were victims of a scam.
"We don't know even if this supposed puppy even exists," said Mike Monagan-Allan.
Mike said he and his wife searched golden retrievers in the Lockport area on Google at the end of last June. One of the first results that came up was a website that had pictures and descriptions of different dogs.
"Website seemed legit," said Mike.
The couple was touch with the "owner," who requested payment through a BitCoin ATM.
"Their CashApp wasn't functioning, so that's when they said they only accept BitCoin," explained Mike.
At first the person told them the dog has all shots and vaccines, but then that changed as time went on. The Monagan-Allans said they were also told the puppy had to be shipped to Lockport, even though they were led to believe the dog was already in the area.
"They wanted another $1,200 for something else," said Mike. "At that point we're like, no we're not sending you anything else.
As soon as they asked for a refund, the Monagan-Allans said that's when communication was cut off by the person they were texting.
7 Problem Solver Michael Schwartz called the the number the Monagan-Allans were using to contact Smith's Golden Retrievers, but he was told it was the wrong number. The area code of the phone number was outside New York.
"Seems to happen with increasing frequency lately," said Amy Lewis, Niagara SPCA Executive Director. Lewis said she has seen recent scams where people interested in puppies are asked to pay a deposit just to see the dog.
"Very likely the puppy doesn't even exist," said Lewis.
The scam left the Monagan-Allans devastated and disappointed, but by the end of last summer they started looking again. This time they went to a local breeder, and brought home Sadie. They were able to meet the puppy before buying her.
Sadie is now four-months-old, and the Monagan-Allans are extremely happy dog owners. They warn others to research before buying or adopting a dog, and make sure to meet the dog before committing.
The Niagara SPCA said you can make an appointment to meet a dog you're interested in. They even have an adoption alert program if you're looking for a specific breed. It allows you to join a list to then be notified when a match is available. Its costs $100, that includes adoption fee, and administration fee.
If you have a problem you need help addressing, email Michael at 7ProblemSolvers.WKBW.com