Woman arrested in Internet puppy scam - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Woman arrested in Internet puppy scam

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -

A Valdosta woman is in jail tonight accused of scamming two victims online with a fake advertisement for french bulldog puppies.

Investigators say she took their money through a wire transfer, but she didn't get away with it.

Now, Valdosta Police are warning people to look out for scammers on the Internet.

French bulldog puppies, they're cute but very expensive. Valdosta resident Shari Bell claimed she was selling the pups for $1,600 each online. But police say her advertisement and website all turned out to be a scam.

"You can go online and it may look like it's a legitimate business but anybody can make up a website," said Lt. Aaron Kirk, VPD.

Yesterday, Bell was arrested and charged with two counts of felony theft by deception. Police say she sold fake puppies to two victims in New York and Oklahoma. They sent the money to Bell though a Western Union wire transfer.

Bell even went as far as sharing details with these victims about the puppies personalities, puppies that didn't even exist.

"These scams are out there, they should never send money on these wire transfers unless they know who the person is and can identify the person," said Kirk.

Kirk says look out for sellers who only accept one form of payment.

"Most legitimate businesses are not going to require you to pay some money up front or use one of these services or they're going to have more than one method of payment."

Officials also warn that a new popular form of scamming people out of money is by using prepaid debit cards also known as Money-Paks. Scammers use this method because once you put money on the card and give out the account information, the scammer has access to all of the funds.

"It's not traceable and its real convenient for the person on the other end to get that money," said Kirk.

As for Bell she's booked in the Lowndes County jail.

Police say with any online transaction, you need to make sure you know who you're dealing with. Scammers may create a realistic online identity. But if they aren't who they say they are, they can take your money and go undetected.

Copyright 2013 WALB.  All rights reserved.

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