Before you buy something online, you may want to check the business address on Google. There are multiple websites with the same Maryland address and they're selling very different products.
One advertises puppies and the other supposedly sells marijuana.
The Better Business Bureau serving greater Maryland has been on the scent of online puppy scams for quite some time.
“So, there's been multiple scams. BBB alone has shut down over 30 websites in the last 18 months of these bogus puppy sales,” said Angie Barnett, president & CEO for the BBB serving greater Maryland.
Barnett said the latest puppy scam is Jessica English Bulldog Puppies, a website claiming to sell bulldogs for $650 (a discounted rate) and an additional $200 for shipping.
However, if you wanted to visit the company selling the puppies, you’d find yourself at a familiar location.
“It is alleging that it's located with a storefront address at the Maryland fairgrounds,” said Barnett.
Barnett believes the business is using a phony address to make the company seem more legitimate
“Scam artists, who set up these websites, they always post an address because if you don't take the second to do your homework it seems legit. It's a real address, so we think, 'they're founded in Maryland, located in Maryland, I'm going to go ahead and buy from them,'” Barnett said.
And there's another online business claiming to share the same address.
“We found a second website that is also using the same address, the same everything, but on this one they're selling marijuana,” Barnett said.
Even though recreational pot is illegal in Maryland, Cannabis Product Sale advertised cannabis products and listed the fairgrounds as their address.
The marijuana and puppy website also had another listed address, a Roland Park residence.
Seven other online businesses also claim to be located at that residence.
It's a reminder that before you shell out any money on puppies that melt your heart or anything else, do your research or risk being ripped off.
“Because of the emotional issues with the pet, many people are actually paying thousands for the puppy and hundreds to get the puppy shipped, the puppy's never delivered,” Barnett said.
The cannabis website was recently shutdown and the puppy site no longer advertises their address as either of the Maryland locations.