Better Business Bureau® of Upstate South Carolina (BBB) is alerting consumers about a local “pet breeder” business scam named Geeks Mini Schnauzers. The business also goes by Coly Pembroke Welsh Corgis, Coly Bernese Puppies, Destiny German Short Haired Pointers, Geeks Mini Aussies and Kelvy Whippet Puppies. Each business has a separate website and all list the same phone number.The address provided for the business by a consumer was checked by BBB and, in fact, lists the address of a house in Spartanburg.This consumer reported an $800 loss to this “pet breeder.” She thought she was adopting a miniature schnauzer, but she later found out this was a scam. “I just don’t want this company scamming other people,” said the consumer. “I just wish they could be shut down.” BBB has reached out to the company via telephone and the representative stated they were based out of South Carolina. However, when asked more questions, the business hung up. Additionally, when sent emails and letters in the mail, the BBB received no responses. How the Scam Operates:You want to adopt a puppy, so you search online for breeders. When you come across a website that offers puppies for sale, you see photos of puppies and guarantees of their health and vaccinations.So, you email the breeder. The puppy is still available and so, the breeder lets you know they would be happy to ship the dog. All you need to do is use a wire transfer to send money to the breeder.Don’t fall for it! The dog doesn’t exist and the photos you’ve been seeing are pictures from other breeders’ websites. BBB offers the following tips when shopping for the puppy online:Do your research. Only purchase from a reputable breeder. Scammers and puppy mills are rampant online and sometimes their schemes are not as easy to spot until it is too late. Go to www.bbb.org to check out the business before you make the purchase. The BBB International Investigations Initiative conducted an extensive study of online puppy scams. The study looks at the scope of this problem, who is behind it, and the need for law enforcement consumer education to address the issue. You can read the full study here or download a PDF here.Educate yourself. Online puppy scammers rely on your lack of knowledge. You should not only educate yourself about the breed that you are purchasing but know the regulations for this type of purchase. For instance, a phony out-of-state seller may tell you that the puppy will be delivered to your door once the airplane lands. You should be aware that all dogs shipped by an airplane are required to be picked up at the airport. Read more tips to protect yourself here.Request Personalized Photos. Yes, you saw those adorable pictures on the website that caused you to be interested. Before you send the money, ask for additional photos and ask the seller to include something in the photo like your name written on a sheet of paper next to the puppy.Report Puppy Scams. If you spot a pet scam online, file a complaint the Better Business Bureau, Federal Trade Commission, and/or your State Attorney General. If you are unable to resolve a marketplace dispute with a business, file a complaint through BBB and report scams and known instances of fraud to BBB Scam Tracker.