Eric and Amanda Potcovick have a new addition to their family, but the events leading up to its arrival took the couple on a wild ride.
A warning for internet users: an online scam targeting pet-lovers is circulating the web, and it could cost you more than a new pet.
Eric and Amanda Potcovick fell victim to the scam earlier this month. The Angola couple had recently lost their 13-month-old boxer puppy, and in their search for a new pet, they stumbled across an online ad that caught their attention.
The ad was posted to a local online classified website by a man who claimed he was living in Florida. The seller said he had recently moved to Miami, and couldn't keep his dog due to his new living conditions. He was willing to give the Labrador Retriever puppy named Dely away for the cost of shipping, which was $220.
The Potcovick's emailed the man saying they were interested in dog. The man quickly wrote back, telling them about a pet carrier service he planned to use to ship the dog. The couple took a look at the website, and decided to seal the deal.
But before the couple had even sent out the money for shipping, they received an email stating the puppy was on its way.
"We thought that was kind of funny, said Eric Potcovick. "We didn't have any confirmation, like a phone call, saying they're sending the dog. But we thought well, if he sent the dog we don't have any other choice, the dog is coming now."
The couple sent the delivery service $220 by way of Western Union. That night, they began preparing for their new puppy to arrive. They went to the store and bought a cage, bed, and other items to help the dog feel comfortable. But on the morning the puppy was scheduled for delivery, the couple got a call from the pet carrier service.
"There was an issue. They would not release the dog to the delivery person to bring the dog down unless we had this paper."
The paper was a release stating the dog was in good health. The delivery service told the Potcovick's to send another $820 or risk losing the dog.
That's when the couple realized they'd been scammed. They told the person on the other end of the phone the deal was off. But the caller kept calling, becoming more aggressive each time.
"He kept calling me saying the dogs here," said Amanda Potcovick. "Making me feel like this poor dog is sitting somewhere unattended."
When the caller realized the couple wasn't sending the extra $820 he threatened to turn them into authorities and charge them with animal abandonment.
"We didn't know if something was really going to happen to us. We didn't know if we could get in trouble."
That's when they decided to call police. Authorities were at their home in less than an hour. They looked at the emails, the website, and tried to trace the phone calls. Officials determined the entire thing was a scam.
Officials told the Potcovicks this type of scam is getting more and more popular, however, very few people turn it in to authorities. Tonight they're urging anyone who thinks they've been scammed on the internet to contact police immediately. By doing so, officials can monitor the frequency and location of each incident.
The Potcovick's story does have a happy ending, though. The couple now has a new labrador puppy named Parker. They went to a breeder and picked him out themselves... and brought it home the very same day. They say they don't plan to make any online purchase anytime soon.
For more on internet scams and how to report them, click here.