This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

A Michigan man is warning others after his online search for an exotic pet cost him thousands of dollars.

“I needed a monkey. I needed to be different,” Don Abrego told KTLA sister station WXMI in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

He wanted a capuchin monkey and found one three weeks ago that was supposedly in Hawaii, according to WXMI. However, as soon as his first $400 payment cleared, the problems began, he said. The shipper was requesting more money and claimed it was for flight cancellations and vaccination costs.

So Abrego shelled out more cash.

“About 20 Amazon gift cards ranging from a hundred to $400 and $500,” Abrego said.

He texted his card information to the shipper. Abrego said even the drug store employees voiced their concerns, but he kept going.

“They tried to warn me almost every single time I went to a Walgreens or a CVS, and I bought a gift card. I would say six times out of eight, they were like ‘You’re being scammed. Whatever you’re doing, you’re being scammed,'” Abrego explained.

Now he says he’s out thousands of dollars.

“I would say between $4,500 and $5,000,” Abrego estimated.

There’s still no sign of his new pet, he says.

John Masterson with the Better Business Bureau told WXMI anyone looking to buy a pet should see it in person to make sure it’s real and in good physical condition.

“Obviously research the organization, the business you’re buying from, (and) try to found out who the owner is,” Masterson said.

Abrego did eventually receive photo ID from the shipper, but it expired 10 years ago and was apparently fake.

Abrego is speaking out in the hope his story will be a cautionary tale for others.

“I want people to know about it, and I want him to stop,” he said.

Abrego said he paid using Western Union, Amazon gift cards and PayPal. He managed to get the original $400 back through PayPal.

The BBB suggests using a credit card so scam victims have an easier time recovering their funds if something goes wrong.