Panama City woman who breeds Yorkshire terriers recently learned that she, and potential customers, were victims of an internet scam.
PANAMA CITY — When Yorkie breeder Robin Taylor got the first call from a man who believed he'd paid her for a champion line boxer, she thought he was just a confused old man.
She and her partner have been breeding Yorkshire Terriors for 30 years, as well as providing a permanent home for "lifers," dogs who can't be adopted.
But when two women pulled up in her driveway to claim the great Dane puppy they thought they'd bought, Taylor realized she and the prospective buyers had been the victims of a sophisticated scam.
"It's been really sad what these (victims) are willing to do," she said. "I now get one to two calls a day from people. It's awful. It's really really awful.
"I'm getting calls from California and all over the states," she added.
Last week, the local Better Business Bureau warned consumers about the scam in which three websites linked to the Netherlands listed the address for Roman Empire Yorkies, Taylor's legitimate breeding business.
All of the scammed customers believed they were buying larger breeds, including great Danes and boxers.
The victims told the BBB that the scammer had said their "sister" breeds Yorkies, but has enough room on her property for larger dogs as well.
The consumers who lost money were from Texas and Kentucky. A third man detected the scam before making payment.
Taylor, a retired veterinarian and Air Force colonel, said that when the BBB began its investigation, she was the target. They quickly realized she had not been party to the scam, but had been victimized by it along with disappointed future owners.
BBB cautions anyone wishing to bring any type of animal into their home via the internet and to always check with your BBB before sending money electronically or by gift/pre-paid cards. Referred to as Puppy Scams, this fraud is carried out with all types and all breeds of animals.
At least one of the websites used in this scam has been closed down.