(WSVN) - A South Florida woman offered a reward for her missing dogs. She ended up paying but never getting her beloved animals back. The Nightteam’s Brian Entin exposes the scam in our special report: Dog Gone Shame.
Victoria Blanco has cried every single day since her two Rottweilers, Monster and Harley, dug out of her Hialeah backyard and disappeared back in December.
Victoria Blanco, two dogs are missing: “I’m just completely, as you can see, I’m torn apart. These dogs mean the world to me just like my child does.”
Making the situation worse, Victoria’s son has autism, and Monster was his best friend.
She has done everything to find the dogs. Handing out hundreds of flyers and posting all over social media.
Then came a glimmer of hope.
Victoria Blanco: “So I’m at work, and they text me, ‘I found your dog.'”
The text reads: “I found her on Hialeah. Somewhere around Palm Ave. We can meet at a public place.”
Victoria Blanco: “I responded back, you know, ‘OK, great, can we meet? I’m at work, but I can leave my job right now. I mean, I can meet you anywhere you want.'”
But to get her dogs, there was a catch.
“Just get six of the iTunes card. Buy the iTunes card and come to Sedano’s.”
The person then sent a picture of a dog that looks like one of Victoria’s missing Rottweilers.
Victoria Blanco: “At the moment, I was so vulnerable, and I was so hurt. I wanted to believe that this was my dog.”
Victoria bought $300 in gift cards, and the person then asked her to send pictures of them with the card numbers showing.
When Victoria became skeptical, she got this text: “I will keep my word cos I am an honest woman. It might sound odd, but you just have to trust me. I will bring your dog to you. I promise. I am a mother like you.”
Victoria texted the photos of the gift cards and was told to come to this supermarket parking lot in Hialeah. Things got really creepy when they texted her back.
Victoria Blanco: “They asked me to step out of the vehicle, so when I step out of the vehicle, this person actually replies to me and describes what color of clothing I’m wearing, even my sneakers.”
Brian Entin: “So they were there?”
Victoria Blanco: “They were there.”
Victoria was alone in the parking lot hoping to get her dogs back, but then, the texts stopped, and Victoria realized because she sent pictures of the gift cards with the numbers showing, the scammer was able to drain all the money from them.
Victoria Blanco: “These people, I don’t know how they get away with this. I guess they get a picture of a dog that looks similar. It’s horrible. It’s horrible that they’re doing this.”
Victoria filed a police report, and Miami-Dade Animal Services hopes her story is a warning to others.
Flora Beal, Miami-Dade Animal Services: “First of all, when somebody is demanding a reward from you, that should raise a red flag. Them not wanting to bring the pets and let you see them before you exchange any kind of redeeming information on gift cards or any kind of reward, that should also be a huge red flag.”
I called the number from the text messages.
Computer voice: “Hello, please state your name after the tone, and Google Voice will try to connect you.”
It’s a Google Voice number, which makes it hard to trace, and when I identified myself, a woman answered but then hung up.
Victoria has two other dogs at home, but she misses her Rottweilers, Monster and Harley, more and more each day.
Victoria Blanco: “There’s a lot of people that watch the news, that watch you guys, that might touch their heart and be like, ‘OK, I have her dog. Let me just return the dog.'”
Both of Victoria’s dogs are microchipped and are about a year old.
If you know where they are, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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