ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A Schenectady woman says she was the victim of a puppy scam that left her $1,600 in the hole.

There’s no better feeling than taking home a new puppy, and that’s what Amy Bosco was looking forward to when she arrived at the Albany International Airport Saturday to pick up the puppy she bought online. It was supposed to be flying in from North Carolina.

“They had the baggage people look on the plane. There was no dog on the plane, so we’re sitting there like, where is this poor puppy?” she said.

Bosco is talking about a little American Pit bull that she named Luca and had fallen in love with after spotting him on a website recommended by a friend.

“We had references, and we also looked at this website. Everything was legit. We even spoke to the seller on the phone,” said Bosco.

But after shelling out $1,600 on the puppy and his plane ticket to Albany, that phone number became disconnected, and Bosco realized she’d been scammed.

“It was devastating. We were more worried about the puppy than the money we lost,” she said.

Marguerite Pearson with the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society says a reputable breeder will want to connect with you personally.

“They’re going to want to meet you, and they’re going to want you to come to their location. Not only so you can check them out, but so you can check them out, too,” she said.

She says there are so many things that can go wrong when you buy online.

“It’s not in the best interest of the animal, and it’s not in the best interest of the family. You could very well be buying from a puppy mill where animals are bred purely for profit and kept in horrible conditions,” said Pearson.

The American Kennel Club says you can spot a puppy scam by looking for these red flags:

  • Photos of the dog can be found on other web sites
  • The seller asks for wiring of money or payment by gift card
  • The price seems too good to be true, and the seller prefers communication by email and not the phone.

Bosco’s last dog Angel passed away at age 13, but she’ll be waiting a bit longer before she tries to fill the void with another puppy.

“We’re putting adoption on hold right now because we just don’t trust anyone,” said Bosco.