Ga. woman raising awareness about service dog scam on Facebook

Consumer Report

AUGUSTA, GA (WJBF)- Kimico Wright, an army veteran, fell victim to a Facebook scam when trying to buy a Yorkie that she would use as a service dog. She’s still on the search for a pet, but now she’s out of 500 dollars.

“I would tell her I’m sending the money and she was like are you sending me the money, send me the screen shot, send me the money now; and I’m just like why is she so urgent?” said Kimico Wright.

That was just moments after Kimico Wright sent 500 dollars through the CashApp for a Yorkie that was posted for sale on Facebook.

“My daughter happens to know a girl, that she use to work with, who had posted that she was selling puppies,” said Wright.

Wright’s daughter told her to reach out to the seller, and she thought since she worked with her she could be trusted.

“She told me to contact her via Messenger, which I did. I stated that I was a vet. That I did have PTSD, anxiety, TBI, and all the things that go along with it,” said Wright.

“She told me to contact her via Messenger, which I did. I stated that I was a vet. That I did have PTSD, anxiety, TBI, and all the things that go along with it,” said Wright.

Wright and the seller made an agreement that she would pay 500 dollars for the dog, but Wright says she was unable to pay the funds right away and asked the seller if she could hold the sale until she could pay.

“So she said if I gave her 200 dollars, she would hold the puppy for me. I picked the one I wanted, she said she would hold it, I ask my son for the 200 dollars he sent it to me I sent it to her,” said Wright.

Then another family member sent Wright the remaining 300 dollars. She sent it to the Facebook seller and then it was time for Wright to finally get her new service dog. She was still out of town so she sent her daughter to pick up her new furry friend.

“She started saying that the dog was at the vet and needed shots and that would be an additional 200 dollars,” said Wright.

That’s when Wright realized she was being scammed. Wright asked for her money back and the seller refused. The seller then blocked her on Facebook. Days later she blocked her daughter too, but that was after the Facebook seller reposted the scam.

“I was devastated, I was hurt it took me to a place I didn’t want to be in,” said Wright.

Wright went through several avenues to get her money back, including contacting CashApp and even the police.

“I think it’s easy for her to continue, because all of the things that people have to go through in order to get anything done, you know who has time to go to a police station and file a report and then you have to be the one to pay for the warrant. That’s additional money out of your pocket,” said Wright.

Wright says she’s going to continue to push for a police warrant against the Facebook scammer.

Experts say the best way to avoid seller scams is to try to do business in person instead of over an app like Facebook or CashApp. Also, be aware once you send money to a person, it’s an authorized payment regardless of whether it’s a scam and not all banks can intervene with scams.

Columbia County has several designated Safe Dealer Areas to conduct face-to-face transactions.

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