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College student out almost $600 and a dog after becoming the victim of a Craigslist scam

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -An Iowa City woman is out almost $600 after trying to buy a dog from an out of state breeder on Craigslist. Kiera Brown told us there were red flags along the way that she sees now. She is sharing her story in hopes others can avoid falling for a similar scam.

“I got my heart set on this dog, I was super excited,” Brown said as she flipped through pictures of the puppy on her phone.

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She and her boyfriend fell in love with what they thought was a 12-week-old golden retriever known as Luna.

”We were looking on Craigslist because everyone had told us like that was the easiest and cheapest way to get a puppy,” Brown explained.

The breeder offered to fly the dog to the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids.

“She had offered to fly her out to us because she was in Montana, so we had her flown out,” Brown said.

Receipts show Brown made two payments through a banking app. First, $265 to have the dog shipped, and then $300 for the puppy itself. The supposed breeder even sent Brown a document from UShip letting her know the puppy was on the way. But when she arrived at the airport, that was not the case.

“There was no UShip order, there was no dog coming,” Brown said.

In that moment, she realized she’d been scammed and tried calling the breeder.

“Both her and her husband’s numbers were disconnected,” Brown told us.

We reached out to UShip to find out if they were aware of their app being used to assist in scams.

“Yes, we are aware that we are being used in this way, and unfortunately, when we’re contacted by the scammed person, it’s the first time we’ve heard of it and always after the fact,” Dean Jutilla said, VP of Corporate Communications at UShip.

He went on to say, “Obviously nothing we can do other than inform the person, have empathy for them, and alert authorities through our Trust & Safety team.”

Looking back, Brown says there were several warning signs. For one, the Craigslist add said Minnesota but the breeder gave her a Montana address. Phone calls with the breeder always seemed to have a bad connection, and they weren’t given a flight number or even an airline.

Brown said losing $600 as a college student is tough, but what’s worse, is losing the new family member she had been preparing to welcome home.

“We went and got like a kennel and we got her this cute little Christmas outfit because we figured it’s like right around Christmas,” Brown said.

Copyright 2021 KCRG. All rights reserved.



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