DENVER -- A Denver woman is warning others planning to buy a dog after losing $1,000 in a scam.
Sara Morales said she found a 9-week-old puppy online. She purchased accessories for the pet and planned to name him "Nacho."
However, the dog did not exist.
“Yeah, I did get ‘catfished’ with a fur baby,” Morales said.
She was in search of a French bulldog and eventually found a breeder— or so she thought — with the e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The seller offered to ship the puppy from Texas for a bargain.
“$1,000 is pretty cheap for a French bulldog,” Morales told KDVR.
She paid about half of the money up front through a banking app called Zelle, and the other half after receiving a fake e-mail confirmation with flight information from a company called Star Light Pet Delivery.
“[There was] no flight number, by the way. I didn’t learn that until later. But I was just too excited," Morales said.
She spent the entire day at the airport, but the puppy never arrived.
“All of a sudden, they wanted more money for a delivery service, which I had already been at the airport waiting for a dog, and they told me it wasn’t coming," Morales said.
Morales said shortly after that, she stopped getting responses from either e-mail account.
“It was too many people that I was talking to. I kind of figured from there it wasn’t real, and I lost a lot of money," Morales said.
We did a search on the International Pet and Animal Transportation Association’s website, which revealed email@example.com and Star Light Pet Delivery are both reported scams. It has a full list of scams on its website.
Morales admits she was too impulsive with the purchase.
“I needed something — a companion. Something to love, something to love me back because I’m a mom of three kids who aren’t here anymore," she said.
Morales said she was more cautious during her previous dog purchase, but she was not going through a divorce and other personal challenges at the time.
She hopes other people will learn from her mistake because a little bit of research could save people a lot of money.
“It’s not bad to go to a breeder. But then again, I should have just taken a breath and done my research like I know I should have,” Morales said.