• Puppy scammer chose Charlotte address in same building as federal prosecutors

    By: Jason Stoogenke

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - An online puppy scammer is using a Charlotte address. And not just that -- the con artist picked the same building federal prosecutors use.  

    It's the Carillon building on West Trade Street. The U.S. Attorney's Office is in there as well.  

    [ALSO READ: Scam: Authorities warn of bogus online pet sellers]

    Linit Bearden had a miniature Chihuahua. Her name was Cennie. She died May 29.

    "I still am having a difficult time," Bearden told Action 9's Jason Stoogenke. "And so I wanted another one and so I started looking on the internet."

    Bearden found one.

    "It was a teacup Chihuahua for $500," Bearden said. "Me not knowing any better, so I did that."  

    The scammer had her pay using the app, Zelle. Then he hit her up for more money.  

    "I would have to pay for that crate.  And it was $900 and something, totally refundable and I said, 'I don't have that kind of money for a crate.'" So he threatened her. "I was going to be in trouble for animal cruelty."

    "They caught me at a vulnerable time. I'm just going into retirement. I just lost my little dog," Bearden told Stoogenke. "My heart was ripped out."

    Stoogenke tried to contact the scammer, but the website was down, the phone number didn't work, and no one answered his email.

    [ALSO READ: 9 Investigates: Pet scammers demand payments, don't deliver on puppies]

    You can avoid these scams. It's usually best to get a dog in person. Think about rescuing one. But, if you really want to buy a dog online:

    Research the seller.

    Be suspicious if that person wants you to pay using cash, prepaid cards, or wire transfers.

    Don't trust the picture of the dog that's online.  It could be a stock photo. Stoogenke put a short list how to uncover that on your own on the WSOCTV app.

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