CHESAPEAKE, Va. – Hickory Ridge Farm on Battlefield Blvd. is understood for strawberries and pumpkins, however puppies? Not a lot.
That did not cease somebody from displaying as much as the farm in November seeking to choose up a Havanese pet.
“Got here out at some point to feed the animals and there was a woman sitting on the gate,” recollects Robin Pierce, who owns Hickory Ridge Farm together with her husband, John. “We discovered this web site was utilizing our handle for the potential sale of Havanese puppies.”
The farm had simply closed for the season, however this may solely be the start of a headache for Pierce.
“I began getting Fb messages, cellphone calls, folks letting me know that this web site was sending them to our handle to select up a pet. One buyer had let me know that she had already paid them,” she stated.
Pierce says she known as Chesapeake police to allow them to know after which shared a screenshot of the web site to her Fb web page, telling the farm’s followers to not give them cash. She additionally known as Information 3, hoping to get the phrase out even additional.
The girl who Pierce says did ship cash spoke with Information Three on the situation her identify not be utilized in our story. She says she was in search of a canine for her household and was having loads of bother discovering one.
When she discovered the web site providing a Havanese pet, she says she jumped on the alternative. The alleged sufferer despatched copies of the dialog she had with the folks providing the pet. Within the dialog, it was famous the pet could be shipped to her residence in Saskatchewan, however she needed to ship a full fee of $850 so they might “begin paperwork for cargo.”
The cash was despatched, the pet by no means got here. The girl, now suspecting a rip-off, says she requested her mom to contact the folks and inquire a couple of pet and so they directed her to the Hickory Ridge Farm handle.
“One of many issues try to be asking is, ‘Am I capable of drive to the situation to place my eyes on the person who I am speaking with? Additionally, placing eyes on the pet I am speculated to be getting?'” stated Det. Doug Hatcher with the Chesapeake Police Division.
Hatcher has been investigating fraud crimes with the division’s Financial Crimes Unit for 5 years. He says pet scams are widespread and scams, total, are on the rise within the pandemic.
In relation to the Web, he says, you may’t be too cautious, “You gotta ask your self these questions: What am I doing previous to placing a deposit down? Is that this particular person sending me footage simply on the web or is it on their web site? Are they prepared to fulfill with me earlier than they get the deposit? As a result of if they need you to ship a deposit earlier than they meet with you, greater than probably it should be a rip-off.”
And as we enter tax season, police predict a rise in one other kind of fraud.
“You are going to have lots of people reporting tax fraud as a result of individuals are submitting taxes of their identify,” stated. Det. Hatcher.
No matter how a scammer will get your cash, Det. Hatcher says it is at all times troublesome to get it again; even unlikely. The longer you wait to name police, he says, the more durable it’s to trace down the individuals who stole from you.
A cellphone quantity offered to Information Three did not get answered. Chesapeake police say their system reveals it is computer-generated, would not belong to a wi-fi account and is probably going a rip-off.
Pierce says she simply hopes nobody else falls for it.
“It bothers me extra for the person who’s being scammed than it does that we’re being [dragged] into something,” she stated.