Pet Scams

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 lowlife scam.

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:

  1. Yorkie puppies,, Chris J

  2. English Bulldogs,, Steve Jayson

  3. A puppy,, Max Frank

  4. Kelly Kesten, a free puppy

Example 1:

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.

Example 2.

The following is a message the dog breeder sent to the scammer "Ms. Grisea" at after they received a phone message. Email sent 1-6-08, 6:39pm.

Ms Grisea,

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 is $750.
Thank you for your interest,


Example 3.

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 pickup..
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

Example 4.

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


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