Becky Blackford and her four kids were looking online for an addition to the family, when they fell in love with a French bulldog puppy named Emma.
“Once we got the video, we were like, ‘Oh, we can`t wait to get her,” Blackford said. “All the kids were excited.”
They found her on the website Lakeside Puppies Home. The Blackfords were impressed by the testimonials.
And they said the breeder seemed selective, asking questions like, “What type of environment do you live in? What will you feed our puppy?”
The Blackfords were sold. They said a man named Ramon, from Lakeside Puppies, told them he’s based in Georgia and offered to ship Emma. He provided a tracking number and bill of sale.
They paid him $900, but then they said he abruptly cut communication. A call to PayPal revealed the truth.
“The guy pulled up our account and said it went to Panama City,” Blackford said.
The Blackfords are not alone. The Better Business Bureau says online pet sale scams are on the rise — just in time for the holidays.
The FOX31 Problem Solvers took one of the testimonials on Lakeside Puppies and found the exact testimonial, word for word, on a different website selling teacup pugs.
We tried emailing and calling the numbers on the Lakeside Puppies website, but we got nothing. Their website is still up and running tonight — with Emma front and center.
As for the Blackfords, they’ve disputed the charge, filed a police report and an FBI internet crime complaint.
And they want others to be careful when looking online.
“They know what to say to people they know how to tug at your heartstrings,” Blackford said.