Too cute to be true? Pet adoption scam hits Spokane

We all know it’s hard to resist those puppy eyes when you’re looking through pictures of dogs, but it’s important to remember not to be fooled.

Shannon Ziegenhagel was browsing through Facebook when she saw a post advertising an English bulldog puppy in a buy, sell and trade group. She’s been looking for a friend for her dogs Sam and Louie.

“My husband really wants one so I sent her a message asking her how much it would be,” Ziegenhagel says.

It turns out the puppy was free. But she started getting suspicious.

“Most people don't rehome bulldogs for free,” Ziegenhagel says.

And of course, there was a catch. The seller told Ziegenhagel she lives in Harrison, ID and she would have to send the dog through a courier service. Then the seller said Ziegenhagel would have to pay for that service.

“That’s what flagged us because why would somebody want to pay when we could drive somewhere to pick it up,” she says.

That’s where their conversation ended and Ziegenhagel reported it to Crime Check.

But one way to find out if an advertisement is legit is by doing a reverse image search on Google. You upload the photo, and see if any of the results are the same photo. In this case, the bulldog puppy matched photos on another website that was selling those puppies in Germany.

Here are some other red flags to be aware of in this case: strange grammar, the person selling had no photos or friends on Facebook, and

Shannon is still looking for a puppy and she hopes others are careful when browsing Facebook groups now.

“Ask lots of good questions and make sure you never go alone,” she says.

For more information about how to avoid being tricked, the BBB has several pieces of advice: http://www.bbb.org/northwest/news-events/news-releases/2015/12/pet-adoption-scams-resurface-during-holidays/

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