The Watauga County Sheriff’s office has been made aware of numerous reports of individuals being scammed within Watauga County and in other states.

One of the most prominent scams has been related to the purchase of dogs through internet websites that appear to be legitimate, but in fact are run by malicious scam artists. These scam artists take as much money as they can from those attempting to purchase dogs. They claim to need large amounts of money to ship the animals, and when they don’t ship the animals, they provide a fake address that leads to people or property that has nothing to do with purchase of dogs. The Watauga County Sheriff’s Office urges the public to not purchase things from unverified websites over the internet. Please do not purchase animals unless you have physically seen the animals and can determine that they exist. People have come to Watauga County from numerous other states to seek the address provided by the scam websites. Please contact authorities about addresses before you respond to any online purchases.

In addition, the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office now has available an “online trade zone”
to allow individuals to use a neutral place to meet someone who is buying, selling, or giving away merchandise usually via any online, or offline, “buy, sell, or trade” transaction. This zone has a 24-hour video camera that records a transaction on a part (main entrance) of the concrete pad; in front of the main WCSO building, and/or in the driveway and part of the parking lot located to the East and directly across the street from Oak Grove Baptist Church. Several citizens have already utilized this zone for transactions involving several “CraigsList” vehicle purchases, “eBay” purchases, and others. There have also been several child custody exchanges, all on video. Any one trading in online marketplaces is welcome to use the Online Trade Zone at the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, 184 Hodges Gap Road, Boone.