WATCH: Fundraising phenom Jeneece Edroff is out $1,500 after purchasing two puppies online. April Lawrence reports.
Jeneece Edroff is surrounded by pets, including two hedgehogs and Penny, the family’s 10-year-old dog.
But this week Jeneece was gearing up to welcome two new additions ? Cavalier King Charles puppies she was going to train to be therapy dogs.
“So I can take it to work and take it to Jeneece Place and other places where I can help other people,” said Jeneece.
She was so excited she spent $200 on puppy gear, like bowls and toys, and had already named them.
“So it was going to be Lokie and Loca,” said Jeneece.
But when Jeneece showed up at the airport Thursday morning to pick up her new furry friends, they weren’t there.
“Went to the cargo shipping and they were like no puppies have come,” she said. “It was a huge scam.”
The Edroff’s found the puppies in an online ad that has since been taken down. It said the puppies’ owner had died so they were free, you just had to pay the freight.
“We checked them out and they gave us a freight number so we checked back on the number through the company just to make sure it was valid and they had all the information, everything was there,” said Denis Edroff, Jenecee’s father.
They talked and emailed with the puppies’ so-called owner over two days, sending two separate payments totalling $1,500. They even got a flight itinerary for the dogs, which they cross-checked with the airline but the dogs never existed.
“It’s very hurtful that people can do this type of thing,” said Jeneece.
The 24-year-old, who has dedicated her life to raising money for sick kids and undergone dozens of surgeries herself, is so used to seeing the good in people she wasn’t prepared for the bad.
“You’ve got to trust people sometimes otherwise you never go anywhere in life,” said Denis.
Jeneece hopes sharing her story will prevent others from falling victim to the same scam.
“When the puppies are here I’ll give you all the money but until you see the puppies in your face and in your hands don’t pay a cent,” Jeneece warned.
She’s still hoping to get a Cavalier King Charles spaniel ? the breed is close to her heart because of her beloved childhood dog Variety who she lost a few years ago.
Fortunately, a few years ago, CHEK news viewers raised money for Jeneece when she was undergoing treatments at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, and the “This One’s For Jeneece” fund will be able to cover the money the Edroff’s lost.
The Better Business Bureau says when possible always try to see the pet in person before buying it but if you can’t, always pay with a credit card.
Another tip is to try googling the wording and the photos in the ad to see if it turns up on other sites.
Find more on the “puppy scam” here.