Frank Todd’s beloved 17-year-old dog, a long-haired dachshund, recently died and Mr. Todd wanted a new puppy.
He couldn’t find any breeders with puppies available mid-pandemic, so he began scrolling through pictures of puppies for sale online. He eventually settled on a short-haired dachshund named Pippa.
After exchanging emails with the seller, he paid $800 using a mobile payment service. He was told to expect delivery in early August. Pippa never arrived.
“At first I was like ‘No, this really can’t be a scam,’” said Mr. Todd, who lives in a suburb of Charlotte, N.C. “Who scams with puppies?”
Lots of people, it turns out.
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