By Joe Johnson
Krystal Balderas did everything she could think of to protect herself but she still fell victim to a scam in which paid for a puppy that the seller never delivered.
The Henry County woman said that because she had been ill with Covid-19 on Christmas Day her family had no holiday celebration to speak of, so she thought a puppy would bring cheer into her home where she lives with her three children.
After locating a Craigslist ad for a Rottweiler puppy for sale, Balderas initiated contact with the purported seller, and first sought to verify that “Larry Greene” was a real person before sending any money, and he sent a photo of an expired California driver’s license that had Green’s name on it with a photo of a white male.
“Greene” said he now lived on Nantahala Extension in Athens, so Balderas arranged to meet with him at a safe location --- the Athens-Clarke County east police precinct on Lexington Road.
Balderas sent the purported puppy seller $710 via Cash App and PayPal and traveled three hours to the police station in Athens on Wednesday, but “Greene” never showed. The scammer also stopped responding to the woman’s texts and phone calls.
“I thought that I did everything right. I got verification of the seller’s identification and arranged to meet him at a safe location, but I still got scammed,” she said.
Balderas said not getting the puppy hurt more than did the financial loss.
“It’s one thing to be scammed out of money,” Balderas said, “but lying about puppies is just horrible.
“Me and my family didn’t have Christmas because I tested positive for Covid-19 on the 25th (of December), so I thought that maybe a puppy could bring some cheer into the house.”
Balderas said that she hoped that the scammer “knows in his heart what he had done is terribly wrong."
When Classic City News called the scammer’s phone number, the call went straight to voicemail.
A short time later CCN received a text message from that number, which showed to be from Edgewood, TX, that wanted to know who had called.
After being asked why they scammed the woman out of her money, the person replied that they were “sorry” and indicated they would refund $355, or half of the money that was stolen.