BBB Scams of the Month

March 23 - National Puppy Day


March 23 is National Puppy Day, and it’s a great time to consider adding a furry friend to the family. There are many things to think about when purchasing a pet - like how to get stains out of the carpet or what valuables to tuck out of the way from being chewed up - but the most important is whether or not your family is ready to take on a full-time commitment. If you are, then make sure to watch out for the puppy scam. 


You notice an online ad that says a new litter of puppies is ready for adoption or purchase and includes the contact information of the person supposedly selling them. When you click on the ad, you’re redirected to a page that allows you to make a payment to the seller. They’ll insist on communicating by email or text, and won’t offer to meet in person or talk on the phone. Once you state that you’d like to purchase the dog, the scammer will confirm that the puppy is available, ready to ship, and ask you to send money by an untraceable method - usually wire transfer or prepaid card. Depending on what kind of breed they claim the dog to be and what other services they say are included - like insurance, supplies, or veterinary fees - the victims of this scam can lose upwards of $1,200. It’s never all in one transaction but in a series of requests or excuses from the seller until finally, the buyer ends up canceling the transaction realizing it’s a scam.


Even though it’s hard to resist an adorable face and a decent deal, there are a few ways to avoid being put in the doghouse:


Visit the seller - responsible breeders and reputable rescues are more than happy to offer you a tour and let you see the available puppies in person.

Check their references - read online reviews and talk to other people who have purchased pets from the place you’re considering to make sure they’re trustworthy.

Look for website warning signs - fake puppy sale sites look legitimate because they steal content from other websites. An easy way to spot a duplicate site: copy a line of text from the website and paste it into a search engine.

Select your pet on site - rather than relying on pictures to pick your perfect pet and waiting on a breeder to send them to you, visit the site and make your choice in person.

Use a credit card - this offers additional protection if you do make an online purchase. Asking a customer to pay by wire transfer or prepaid card is illegal, and any breeder that pressures you to do so is most likely a scam. 


Report any financial losses to BBB’s Scam Tracker and to the FTC. Picking the perfect pet for your family is exciting, so celebrate National Puppy Day the right way - without scammers. Consider adopting a pet from a rescue shelter; they have lots of older dogs ready to adopt if a puppy isn’t quite your speed. Visit for more details on shelters in your area. 

I’m a Toys R Us Kid and so Bummed They’re Going Away.

Toys"R"Us is winding down its business operations in the U.S., and closing its stores across the country. This means if you have a gift card, use it before April 15 and use it wisely because whatever you do purchase probably means you won’t be able to return your purchases for a refund. Even if a store credit is an option, use it quickly. Ask about the store’s return policy before considering any large purchases and any ‘final sales’ the store is hosting.

Customer programs, including Rewards dollars and Endless Earnings, are being honored for the next 30 days. Always check with the Toys R Us store about the return policies, warranties and exchanges before making a large purchase. Visit for additional information and advice.

FTC Says the Checks Are in the Mail to Tech Support Scam Victims

Eligible consumers who bought tech support products and services between April 2012 and November 2014 from Advanced Tech Support, which also used the name Inbound Call Experts and filed a refund request should see a refund check from the FTC soon.

The FTC took legal action against Advanced Tech Support late last year for using high-pressure sales pitches to market tech support services and falsely claim to find viruses or malware on people’s computers. The company agreed to a $10 million settlement and these checks are part of the settlement. 

Learn more about the legal action by visiting Questions about the refund should be directed to 1.877.793.0908

Patriot Cup

BBB Center for Ethics is hosting The Patriot Cup, a competitive and exciting 25-station clay shooting event, to support their various ethics-focused programs. 

The event is Friday, May 4 at Sycamore Sportsman’s Club, 6254 Lower Lewis Road, Miamiville, Ohio from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Individual participants are welcome, and shooters of all experience levels are invited to attend. Awards will be given to the highest scoring male and female participants, and a champion team will be recognized as well.

Patriot Cup benefits the programs of BBB Center for Ethics - the educational arm of BBB Cincinnati - whose mission is to provide ethics education, direction, and recognition to Cincinnati’s workforce. Through ethics-based scholarship opportunities, ethics-centered training courses and ethics-focused award programs, the Center works to equip tomorrow’s employees today.

Go to for details and registration.

Students of Integrity Scholarship Applications

BBB Center for Ethics awards four annual scholarships to high school seniors who reside in our 20 county service area of Southern Ohio, Northern Kentucky & Southeast Indiana. The Center is accepting applications for the Students of Integrity Scholarships to students who demonstrate exceptional ethical reasoning skills. 

The inaugural Thomas J. Klinedinst, Jr. SOI Scholarship will be awarded to the top SOI winner, empowering that student to further his/her educational career with $2,000 towards post-secondary education costs. Three other winners will receive $1,000.

The application encourages students to work through a real-life dilemma, challenging their ideas of what it means to be ethical. The deadline is June 4, but get ahead of the rest and start your application now! Visit

Ethics In the Real World: A Panel Discussion 

In the United States, over 120 million people get up and go to work every day; during that day, almost half of them will see or do something that could be labeled unethical. Ethics is a difficult subject to broach in the general sense, and it can get downright sticky when it comes to navigating them in the workplace.

Ethics are defined as the moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or actions - they help to determine right and wrong in any given scenario. These values are often learned from family, friends and coworkers, and can be influenced by experiences and beliefs encountered throughout an individual’s life. 

While most people know the what the right thing to do is, sometimes the factors that influence a situation make it increasingly difficult to make a decision - especially at the office. Whether it’s clocking out a friend who has to go pick up a child or violating company Internet policies to check social media, the question becomes: Is there a way to help future employees understand what an organization expects? What can be done to create a work environment centered around ethics?

BBB Center for Ethics, the Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce and Shawnee State University will host a free presentation and public panel discussion addressing the origin, importance and implementation of ethical practices in professional and educational settings. 

This event is being held at Flohr Lecture Hall in the Clark Memorial Library, 920 2nd St., Portsmouth, Ohio on Wednesday, April 11 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. It is open to high school students, college students and faculty members, as well as any interested businesses in the Greater Portsmouth area. Reservations can be made by phone at 740.351.3635

Brian Thomas

Brian Thomas

Based in Cincinnati, OH, the Brian Thomas Morning Show covers news and politics, both local and national, from a conservative point of view. Read more


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