Tuesday, June 18 2013, 10:14 AM MDT
Thieves Lure Prey with Promise of Free Dogs
By Matt Gephardt
Produced by Michelle Poe
Edited by Jay Hancock
Photography by Jay Hancock and Brian Morris
(KUTV) When Cheryl Lee saw an ad on KSL.com’s classified pages for free Siberian Huskies she fell in love.
She assumed the poster would be close because the website lists West Valley City as the ad’s origin, but that was not the case. When Lee contacted the person who posted the ad, he or she claimed to be in Hawaii nursing a sick relative. Also, suddenly the puppies were not free. Lee was instructed to wire several hundred dollars to the dog’s owner to cover delivery charges to get the animal from Hawaii to Utah.
Lee says she feared it was a scam and decided to Get Gephardt to investigate.
Get Gephardt showed the ad to Carl Arky with the Humane Society of Utah. He says that, without a doubt, the person who posted the ad is a fraudster. This is a scam that the Humane Society of Utah hears about all the time, he said. Arky says that the animal almost certainly does not exist and any money wired away would simply line the pockets of a thief.
“The internet is a slippery slope,” Arky said. “It's a dangerous place for a lot of things, including animals.”
Lee says she is glad she didn’t fall for the scam. She says her family will now go to their local shelter when they decide to adopt a dog.
Get Gephardt also heard from another woman who did fall for this scam. She asked not to be identified but confirmed that she wired $400 to a stranger to cover the freight charges of shipping the dog from Hawaii to Utah. The money disappeared and no animal ever arrived.
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)