BBB Scams of August

posted by Brian Thomas - 

Adopting a Rescue Pup? Watch for Phony Fees.

Puppy scams are now targeting people who want to rescue a dog, not just purchase through a breeder.  If you are looking to adopt a dog use extreme caution with online services.

You are looking to adopt a dog, and you find an organization or individual online wanting to rehome a puppy. You message them for more information and receive a convincing, heart-tugging backstory. In one recent BBB Scam Tracker report, a scammer claimed to be looking for a new home for her English bulldog after discovering her son’s pet allergy. Although this scam mostly involves dogs, it can also include cats and other pets.

The scammer doesn’t charge an adoption fee, but they do request payment to ship the pet to your home. Most scammers ask you to wire the money or send it in a prepaid debit card or gift card. After “shipping” the pet, problems arise. Common scenarios include emergency vet visits or additional shipping fees. The scammers ask for more money to resolve the problem, often promising to refund it after the pet is delivered. They may even claim that the pet will be euthanized if you don’t pay up. Once they’ve gotten your money, scammers disappear. The dog never existed.

How to Avoid Pet Adoption Scam:

  • Never buy or adopt a pet without seeing it in person. This is the best way to ensure you aren’t caught in a con.Do an internet search for the pet’s image. If you do find a puppy online, upload the pet’s photo to a reverse image search. If you find multiple pet adoptions sites using the same picture, it’s probably a scam.

  • Be cautious with a pre-paid debit or gift cards and wire transfers. Money sent this way cannot be refunded. 

For more information on puppy scams, see BBB’s full report at BBB.org/PuppyScam. If you’ve been the victim of a puppy scam, help others avoid falling victim by reporting what happened on scamtracker.org

BBB Warning: Rough Country Rustic Furniture, LLC

A lawsuit has been filed against owners of Rough Country Rustic Furniture, a Missouri based manufacturer of hand-crafted gun concealment furniture and home decor with more than 1,600 complaints from across the United States. 

Consumers say Rough Country Rustic Furniture took payments for goods but failed to provide the purchased products to consumers, or in some cases provided defective products. They also claim the company failed to provide promised refunds and to respond to consumer calls and emails. 52 complaints were filed from Ohio, 21 from Kentucky and 45 from Indiana. 

The Missouri AG’s office estimates $450,000 was taken from at least 514 consumers without providing the products that were ordered. It is unclear at this point how the owners plan to address hundreds of requests for refunds from frustrated consumers who no longer want the furniture they paid for before the business halted operations.

If you’re interested in buying furniture online, consider researching the business and owners using BBB’s Business Profiles and reading customer reviews. Avoid relying on the website or presence on social media as verification of the business. Check other sources and be certain to read all terms and conditions carefully before making a purchase using a credit card.

Read more about this case on bbb.org

BBB, FTC and AG’s Office Crack Down on Misleading Veterans Charities

BBB Wise Giving Alliance (Give.org) joined with the Federal Trade Commission, several State Attorneys General, and state charity regulators to help the donating public avoid misleading charity appeals and find trustworthy veterans’ organizations to support. 

BBB Wise Giving Alliance advises when responding to appeals from such organizations, such as how to avoid sound-alike charities, research them first before giving and recognize potential fraud if they’re pressuring you to give immediately or are insisting that you give personal information over the phone. 

For more tips on giving to charities including mailing list removal, car donations, and sweepstakes appeals, visit give.org.

Here are the six veterans’ charities referenced by the FTC and the state officials. These charities did not disclose any of the requested information to BBB WGA. You can find the reports on these charities at give.org

Foundation for American Veterans

Healing American Heroes (aka Help Our Wounded)

Healing Heroes Network

Help the Vets (aka American Disabled Veterans Foundation, Military Families of America, Veterans Fighting Breast Cancer)

National Vietnam Veterans Foundation

VietNow

Below is a list of 26 nationally soliciting veterans and military service charities that do meet the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability (i.e., BBB Accredited Charities). Donors can give to these charities with confidence knowing their money will be used as they intend.

America’s Vet Dogs – The Veteran’s K-9 Corps

Blinded Veterans Association

Boot Campaign

Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation

Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes

Disabled American Veterans

EOD Warrior Foundation

Gary Sinise Foundation

Green Beret Foundation

Homes for Our Troops

Honor Flight Network

K9s for Warriors

Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation

Military Spouse Corporate Career Network

Operation Healing Forces

Operation Homefront

Soldier’s Angels

Team Red, White & Blue

Travis Manion Foundation

USA Cares

USO

Veterans of Foreign Wars National Home for Children

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund

VFW Foundation

Wounded Warrior Project

Wounded Warriors Family Support

If you’re uncertain about the practices of a charity or have a question about how your donations are being used, contact us here at BBB. If you are concerned about the practices of a charity or receive a phone call from a soundalike charity, report it to scamtracker.org

Save the Date!

Join us Friday, October 19 at the Sharonville Convention Center for the 2018 BBB Center for Ethics Torch Awards.

The BBB Center for Ethics Torch Awards is Cincinnati’s premier ethics-centered event. The Torch Award is a coveted symbol of ethical practices.

Torch Award winners have the chance to publicly recognize their employees; establish a sterling image amongst Cincinnati’s businesses and nonprofits; assure customers and benefactors of their reputation at first sight, and rise to the top of their own ideals. 

Visit torchtickets.org to reserve your spot today.

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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