This is a different type of post from what I usually publish as this is about something that happened to me personally this week. I felt it important to share this with everyone for 2 reasons. One – to make people realize anyone can get duped into thinking something is legit no matter how smart or tech savvy you may be. Two – to give you further tips or what to look for when purchasing or engaging sites online so you are not scammed.
I’m looking to adopt a Boston Terrier so I did the normal thing, searching online and in classifieds online to see where I could get a dog of that breed either from a breeder or a rehoming situation. I found a few sites such as Pet Finder and shelters and looked on Kijiji as well. But this was an emotional pursuit I guess cause I really want a pet and maybe not scrutinizing things as much as I would normally.
I did a targeted search in Kijiji for Boston Terriers and couple of image links came up for “rescue a Boston Terrier” so thinking it was part of Kijiji’s listings I clicked it and I got a ad for these guys:
So I then proceeded to click through “SEE IT” and ended up taking me to https://sweetlandbostonterriers.su/available-puppies.html and the site is quite convincing as you’d expect with why their pups are less than breeders and how they get the pup to you. Browsing through the available pups I got hooked on this one:
I continued to click through, clicked the contact us for more, filled in their form which required my phone number as well so I used my mobile (only personal number I have) and my only question really was what training did they do (as they say all pups are trained) and is Lanna house broken?
The first thing I missed which I’ll go into further detail further down was the website address. It wasn’t a .com it was a .su which is a Soviet Union website. Many won’t know this but you can’t have a country specific domain like .su unless you are a resident of that country. Everything on their site said they were based in Pittsburgh so there was no reason why they wouldn’t be a .com site. However I missed this initially and you’ll see further to the end of my story how this actually saved me from being duped out of about $1000 USD.
The following morning I had an email from “Sweetland Boston Terrier” which was just telling me about them and they included more pics of the dog but didn’t answer my question about training/house breaking and at the same time received a text message from a local Pittsburgh phone number.
The email from email@example.com (again should have raised a bell cause it wasn’t a business email but a personal gmail account that anyone can get)
Thank you for visiting our site and for your inquiry regarding our Female Boston Terrier Puppy Lanna. We are familiar with this breed and have raised them over the years and we have made our time to properly educate ourselves on the breed to be of help to you as a prospective buyer. Our lovely Lanna is raised here in our home around kids and other pets that are dog friendly.
We aren located in Pittsburg , PA and we ship all over the USA and Canada
We own a small motel here where we live too and our pets are all raised right here together with us as one big loving family, We are both retired from the Military service though from time to time, we are called up for some duties as a result of our experience but that only happens 5 hours every month so we stay home with Luna almost all day and night. We have raised 6 children, all now in their 30's and 40's - So Jina is like our child now, and we are always with Luna and take her with us wherever we go. In the evenings, she always sits with us on the couch. She is never left alone for more than 2 hours.
We have 26 acres of natural beauty here, and Lanna has loved taking her walks on it and exploring it. Lanna enjoys meeting our guests quite often, and those who are dog lovers really have loved Lanna. We constantly show our love for Lanna throughout the day, and we very much appreciate her intelligence and personality. Lanna closely resembles her Boston Terrier mother in size and appearance. She has all her first and second set of shots implying that she is all vet checked and up to date on all shots and vaccines and is now ready and fit to move into a new home with her new owner, 12 weeks is just a perfect age for re-homing. We breed more family oriented pets than actually show dogs.
We do not breed to make money. We are hobby breeders so we do not depend on breeding as a business. We only do it for the sake of experience and for the love of the breed so our fees are affordable enough for any pet loving family as we leave Lanna for $550.00 dollars that is for the 50% off. Lanna is good for apartment life. This breed can be fairly active indoors and will do okay without a yard.Lanna is a dog which enjoys lavishing love on her human companions as much as she loves the same treatment in return. Step towards getting Lanna in your home within the next couple of hours. We welcome visitors once every week to take a look at our facility.
Where are you located?
How soon do you want Lanna?
Please get back to me for the next step.
Sweetland Boston Terrier Home
And the text message: (412)530-1169
Hello ,how are you today we are writing you from Sweetland Boston Terrier puppy Home, I received your inquiry with regards to the puppy , we just just sent email with pics did you get it ? is now a good time to talk or text?
From here I started a conversation over text, I never replied by email. And I thought as the conversation went on that they seemed a little pushy to get me to buy the pup. You would think that based on their description of why they breed they would want to do some sort of determination with me to see if I was a good fit to own the dog?? But I still had my blinders on really and just wanting the dog.
I feel rather stupid that it went as far as it did cause I did provide them with my mailing address. Which at the time was to determine the costs to get the pup to me but right after that they gave me a final total of $970 USD. The reply from them below is where I started to feel uncomfortable:
Thanks for the full delivery details , since you are in Canada . We do accept payments via Etransfer , are you familiar with this method of payment ?
You see on their site they listed a number of forms of payment one being Paypal which I was comfortable with cause you have some options of recourse if I didn’t receive what was paid for. Here’s how that conversation went and they ghosted me for a bit after that. As you’ll see after I questioned their website domain ending in .su they were quiet for a while. I then added I thought this is a scam and threatened to expose them (out of anger)
Now after I texted the comment “I think this is a scam” I decided to call the phone number (412)530-1169 which rang and rang until finally a prerecorded silicon sally voice came on saying this was a phone to text service. This really confirmed to me that this was really a scam. Phone numbers can easily be spoofed but since this wasn’t even really a voice line just spoke to not being legitimate!
There is more to the text conversation after that as I decided to poke and have some fun with them as they continued to profess they were a legit business.
My last texts with them below, which didn’t get a reply on my last comment:
I did some searching after to see if there were any reports about this site in specific but nothing turned up however I was surprised to find that there are a lot of scammers for Boston Terrier pups. Other sites, listings, FaceBook groups – the list goes on! I’m going to be a lot more careful in my quest for a Boston Terrier now let me tell you!
Share this blog post in your social media or email to friends. Increased awareness is our best defense!