Holiday shoppers warned that puppy scams can spoil your Christmas

Holiday shoppers warned that puppy scams can spoil your Christmas

The brown and white boxer puppy named “Gemma” couldn’t have been any cuter. Super lovable, 12 weeks old and he looked very intelligent in his picture. But before the day was done, he would end up ripping one big hole into a Michigan woman’s checkbook.

And break her heart.

Those big eyes can con you into doing anything — and don’t the scammers know it. It’s a warning worth sharing once again during the holiday season, as many people shop online for puppies and other pets.

As it so happens, the online seller amazingly has a litter of puppies available in time for Christmas. The trouble is you’re likely never going to see that dog — and you’ll be out a crateful of cash.

How one online puppy scam unfolded

“I’ve been looking for a boxer puppy. And I’ve been going online,” said Joan Reddout, of Vassar, Michigan, which is about 15 miles away from Frankenmuth.

A woman from Vassar, Michigan, said she lost $755 in a puppy scam when trying to buy a boxer. The email shows a puppy called "Gemma."

She started looking in Michigan but the breeders she found here were selling show-quality purebred boxers and they were asking anywhere from $1,800 to $3,000 for their puppies.

“I can’t afford that,” said Reddout, 72, a former home health aide who hasn’t worked in the past year after a car accident and issues with her immune system.

“I just wanted a boxer puppy.”

Then in early October, she spotted someone selling boxers, known for their short, shiny coats and playful personalities, out of Billings, Montana. The puppies were American Kennel Club registered but they weren’t show line dogs with four-digit price tags. The puppies were socialized and raised with children.

The distance didn’t bother her.

“I had talked to people who had gotten puppies from out of state and they did fine,” she said.