Just when you think scammers can't sink any lower, you hear
about pet scams. That's right, scammers are now putting advertisements
with photos of cute, usually purebred, puppies on online selling websites,
like Ebay, CraigsList and in classified ads in newspapers.
The ads claim that there are puppies, in one case English
bulldog puppies, but they may be any breed, that are free to good homes. One
scam claims the puppies were "stranded" in West Africa or Nigeria.
Once a potential victim contacts the scammer, he finds out that
the scammer wants him to pay the "shipping fees". And often other fees, such as
customs duties, shots, adoption fees, insurance and vaccinations to be paid.
And as the victims send money, more fees appear. But the
puppies never arrive. There never were any puppies: it's just another
There are a few typical signs of the scam, such as the scammers
frequent use of the word "baby" in referring to the puppies. "Just send me
the fees and I can send you your babies! Don't you want to see your babies", one
scammer wrote to a victim.
But regardless of how it is phrased, we recommend you never buy
a pet over the internet, unless the transaction of pet for money occurs in
person, at the same moment.
Visit your local dog shelter or check the legitimate animal
rescue websites for a local puppy!
Samples of Real Pet Scams
There are a few typical scam examples further down this page,
and here is a list of more:
Yorkie puppies, classifieds.co.nz, Chris J
English Bulldogs, email@example.com,
A puppy, firstname.lastname@example.org, Max Frank
Kesten, a free puppy
A dog breeder received a phone call from a scammer, who was
posing as a potential buyer. The breeder sent the following email to the
"buyer"; and below that is the "buyer's" (scammer's) response. Notice the usual
scam: the scammer wants to sent a check for more than the actual costs, the
victim is asked to deposit the check and then give the excess money to a third
party (who us another scammer posing as a "shipper", courier", etc.). The
scammer will ask that the money be sent via Western Union - since it is
untraceable and irretrievable. Meanwhile, the check will bounce and the bank
will demand that the victim make up the loss.
The following is a message the dog breeder sent to the scammer
"Ms. Grisea" at email@example.com after
they received a phone message. Email sent 1-6-08, 6:39pm.
Pictures of the pug puppies can be found at the following web site: www.<namewithheld>.com
They are now seven weeks old, fawn and available. Males are $550 and the female
Thank you for your interest,
Below is the response the dog breeder received from the
scammer. Received 1-6-08, 7:31pm. They did not respond to this email. By the
way, what difference would "hearing problems" make in an email?
Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2008 19:31:16 -0800 (PST)
From: monica Grisea <
Subject: AM INTERESTED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
Thanks very much for your email,you have to bear with me as I have hearing
problems.I am sending you this email is to make final reconfirmation of one the
PUPPY (FEMALE)and also to let you know that payment will be,certified USPS
(United States Postal Service)or check and also want to alert you on the fact
that you will be receiving the (check/money order) this WEEK OR NEXT,which will
cover the money for the (pickup)and shipping as well as the money to be paid to
the person that will take care of the pickup with you.So please,as soon as you
receive the (check/money order),cash it immediately, and send the remaining
balance to the shipper in Immediately so that the shipper could arrange for the
I will pay you an extra $50 if you reserve this for me.
So in view of the above, here are some of the details I will need for final
issuance of the (check/money order) to you.
1) Full Name...
(2) Your physical mailing address....
(3) your direct telephone number...
(4) acceptance of my offer..
(5) final price...
After which i will give you the details of my shipper.
once the above information is given you will be issue.
Hope to hear from you
Another example sent in by a visitor on January 9, 2008:
"We have been scammed by these 2 people this is
their email addresses:
They told us they would send us a free puppy but we
had to pay for transport from Belfast and I had to wire £105 to her daughter
in Cameroon which ended up being £126 pounds then they needed another £200
for insurance, but luckily that didn't go through. This time this advert was
on free ads. She is still on there with lots of different pups scamming
people all the time and no one has, or is, doing anything. You have to send
your money through Western Union. Don't do it its a big scam"
Example 5 - Parrot
I was scammed I saw this ad for a parrot it was
sapose to be in Toronto Quebec but ended up in Cameroon they said of lack of
documents and then they wanted more money so of course like a dummy I paid
them with western union and then they wanted more money because they said
the birds have laid eggs so of course I paid that and then when they were
sapose to deliver these birds once again they laid more eggs and then of
course they wanted more money I gave them about 750$ and then they tell me
they are going to bring the birds at 6 pm but guess what they don't show up
so yes of course I call them and guess what they want more money well I told
them there was no way I was going to give them 1 more cent without seeing
the birds now what can I do I gave them all this money and yes no birds at
all please help me report these people before they get to another person
like they did me thank you