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Pet Scams Are A New Trend: How Thieves Use Cute Puppy Ads To Steal Your Money

 

In this week’s official Scambook news video, Kevan discusses pet fraud. He points out that cute puppies and adorable kittens are at the center of fraud schemes targeting animal lovers on classified ad websites like Craigslist and PetFinder. He reviews how con artists exploit people looking for a specific breed, usually a pedigree American Kennel Club breed such as a bull dog, by offering puppies for a ridiculously low price. The crooks claim to be selling the puppy because they’re moving. They also insist on shipping it – and they need you to wire money upfront to cover the costs. Kevan explains that the victims of this scheme never see their money again, and they never receive their pet because the dog (or cat) doesn’t exist. Finally, Kevan offers some tips to avoid these pet hoaxes, such as going to a local breeder in your area, researching the breeder, asking to see the puppy or kitten’s papers or just adopting a rescue from your local animal shelter.

These days, people shop online for everything – including four-legged furry friends. Often, people turn to the internet because they’re interested in getting a specific kind of dog or cat, whether it’s a popular breed from a recent hit movie or a breed with less pet dander to accommodate an allergic loved one. These purebred animals can be very expensive if you purchase one from an official, AKC certified breeder, often costing $1000 or more. This steep price tag sends many pet lovers to the internet, where it’s easy to go barking up the wrong tree and fall victim to fraud.

On Scambook, we’ve received hundreds of complaints about these schemes, with reported damages in the thousands. Here’s how it usually goes down. You look for your new pet on Craigslist, Petfinder or another classified ads website with a pet section. Sure enough, you find exactly what you’re looking for — the right breed, age and sex. Best of all, the puppy or kitten is being sold for a fraction of the official breeders’ price. Why? Well, the seller explains they have to sell the animal immediately because they’re moving, being deployed or the pet belonged to a recently deceased loved one and the seller doesn’t have time to look after it. In fact, the seller is so pressed for time that they can’t let you visit the animal in person before you buy it, or even pick it up from their home. They have to ship it to you.

Be careful when looking for a pet online. You may be buying a puppy that doesn’t exist!

While there are many legitimate pet shipping services, this fake pet seller will likely use one that you’ve never heard of. They’ll also insist that you pay the shipping cost upfront, via Western Union or Money Gram wire transfer. Sometimes, they also need you to pay for pet travel taxes, vaccinations or other fees – some of our members report that they were assured these fees would be refunded to them. Unfortunately, once our members wire the money, it’s gone for good. They arrive at the airport to pick up their new pal and there’s no purring kitty or tail-wagging dog to meet them. The pet they “bought” doesn’t exist.

If you’re thinking about buying a dog, cat or other pet on the internet, use extreme caution. We recommend the following safety tips:

 

1. Go local.

If possible, get your pet from a seller or breeder in your area. Visit the pet and inspect it before you hand over any cash. Legitimate breeders will be happy to let you play with your puppy or kitten first, and they’ll be helpful about answering any questions or concerns. In fact, many real breeders prefer to screen potential buyers to make sure their animals will go to a loving, responsible home. It’s a huge red flag if someone selling a pet won’t let you meet it first.

 

2. Research the seller or breeder.

If he or she claims to be certified by the American

When you’re looking for a new four-legged addition to your family, it’s always safer to go local. Meet the puppy or kitten in person before you buy it.

Kennel Club or another breed organization, verify it by contacting the group. You can also ask about the seller or breeder’s reputation on online forums. And as always, look them up on Scambook.

 

3. Ask to see documents for the pet.

If the seller or breeder claims that the puppy or kitten has show papers, or that it’s had all its shots, get proof. If anything seems fishy, contact the breeder’s organization and get in touch with their veterinarian.

And finally, don’t forget about your local animal shelters! There are thousands of abandoned animals who need loving homes and are just waiting for the right person to adopt them. Mixed-breed animals are often healthier than purebreds, too. For more information, visit your local Humane Society or find an ASPCA chapter near you.

But until you find your purrfect pet, let Scambook be your watchdog! We’ll help you out when things get ruff.

GOT A COMPLAINT ABOUT A BOGUS DOG BREEDER OR ANYTHING ELSE? CLICK HERE TO REPORT IT TO SCAMBOOK!

Click here to follow Miranda on Twitter (@ScambookMiranda)

Image sources: dailypuppy.com, photo-dictionary.com

 

See Also

Monkey Business: Woman Gets Scammed Buying Exotic Pet Online
Warning to All Dog Owners: Fake Animal Control Officer Scam
Strange But True: Poodle Buyer Discovers His Dog is a Ferret on Steroids

Got a complaint? Report it to Scambook!

Author:

Miranda Perry is the staff writer for Scambook.com, where she blogs about consumer issues, fraud and cyber security. She hopes to inspire readers to think critically about the world around them and take action to improve their lives.

Comments

  1. VANDANA

    Hello,

    We made an order to by air puppy(pug) through net surfing and we finally found Mr. David William i am also located in [PERSONAL INFORMATION REMOVED] and my number is, [PERSONAL INFORMATION REMOVED]. We were quoted US$ 500 including shipping charges in U.S. & then we got the payment demand from forwarder :- BEST PET SHIPPERS E-Mail: http://www.bestpetshippersAThotmail.com Phone : [PERSONAL INFORMATION REMOVED],
    website: http://bestpetshippers.com/index.htm asking to make the payment through western union Malaysia Names : Cedrick Tonfo Ngoufack Country : Malaysia State :Kuala Lumpu City : K.L, Zip Code : 5000 Amount :( $500).

    we were so desperate to make order that we did not think we can be looted like that after making the full payment we got the another email US $1200 for the trutravelinsurance for puppy. we were told that this amount is refundable amd obviously we were denied for the refund. That point we discovered that we have been cheated.
    Regards,

    Krishna

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Aayushi Designs Pvt. Ltd.
    Date: Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 5:30 PM
    Subject: Re: Insurance Status Notification Of Your Male Pug Puppy (Springdale – Austin)
    To: DAVID WILLIAM
    Cc: Best Pet Shippers , Krishna Sadh

    Hello Mr. David,

    This is in reference to our latest purchase of Male pug from you. As agreed we have paid you US $500 including shipping charges. We feel cheated after we discovered that you took the entire payment and asking US $1200 for insurance, this is unfair & was never agreed. We are not going to pay single penny further. We give you 24 hours maximum to refund our entire money otherwise or else your website will be permanently blocked for making fraud with us. We are a IT Company, we will make you world famous for cheating and doing fraud with us. You got the wrong person this time. Your time starts now & we have a very good connection in U.S. & will make sure you will learn a good lesson this time. If you don`t settle the problem.

    Krishna

    On Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 2:46 PM, Best Pet Shippers wrote:

    DIRECTION OF COMMUNICATION
    INSURANCE DEPARTMENT
    BEST PETS SHIPPERS

    Dear Client ,

    The management of Best Pets Shippers will like to inform you that , Your puppy was supposed to be on the flight now, but after the final inspection of this puppy by the office in the Department of Insurance, we realized that this puppy has no life insurance permit. , the document to show that the life of your puppy was not insured. We contacted the senders and can not provide a valid certificate of life insurance that will guide and protect the life of your puppy during transport and following our company policy not to transport any animal which has no life insurance valid because if anything happened during transport, we must compensate with the standard US price of that puppy.

    REASON FOR THE LAND OF YOUR PUPPY

    * Following the Commission “on the US Aviation Regulations and Standards
    Animals on the transport and section 12, sub paragraph 2, “… the
    the lives of all animals that are transported within or across the US should be fully insured
    Co-operation for an insurance against any eventuality.
    * After a compromise between the complaint of the US Aviation
    The Commission and US Financial Commission concluded that the
    “… The life of all Pets being transported from or within the US must be
    insured and the insurance fee must be from one animal to another
    Financial terms of the value of the animal. ”
    * We also want you to know, according to the price of the US
    Determination of the Commission, the price of a Pug puppies stand at ($1.200)

    ORIGIN OF THIS INSURANCE SYSTEM

    This insurance scheme was introduced to protect the lives of animals
    or pets traveling within and out the US . This is because animals and pets
    have lost their lives, and the airlines or travel agents are usually
    been forced to pay large sums in compensation. For this reason, the
    Life insurance for animals is introduced so that if something happens
    their animals during transport in case of accident, misuse
    delivery lost or dead, the agency will be free of any charge that the
    cover insurance compensation or payment in lieu of them, not ours
    agency.So you will be repaid in full by the insurance company
    ensuring your animal or pet.

    SOLUTION FOR YOUR PUPPY ON THE WAY.

    It will take a month or more, depending on the Insurance Corporation
    fully insured with valid permit a puppy insurance to give
    become transported in the US. Animal Care Transport
    Agency is willing to provide partial insurance plan refundable
    guide to life from his puppy during childbirth. But you
    be required to deposit insurance fee, which depends on the Worth the Puppies .

    From the above, the rate of life insurance that is supposed to deposit
    as an insurance fees of your animals is ($1.200) and your puppy can travel
    through its lifetime through the US/EU without any problems.

    Due to a number of complaints from numerous customers shipping
    agencies of this insurance scheme, with the US Aviation Commission came out with a returnable Animal Life Insurance
    Scheme, which provides as follows;

    * You can use our system of partial insurance to ensure your puppy
    Life. This cost is half the cost of the share of comprehensive insurance
    ($1.200) this will guide the life of Your puppies in this
    transportation and the fee will be refunded in cash to you once your
    Vet approved the puppy healthy after delivery.

    * This means that you will have to pay the sum of ($1.200) which is a
    Partial payment of life insurance to guide her puppies during this
    delivery. This is the only solution at this time to get your puppies transport as soon as possible.

    ADVANTAGES OF OUR REFUND POLICY.

    The advantage here is that ($1.200) will be returned to you upon collection of your puppy at your Door step by the delivery men, by check or any form of payment upon request.
    These should be paid as soon as you get this message.
    You have to pay a sum of ($1.200) Using the address below
    Failure to make the payment could lead to the puppy being quarantined for 6 months.

    :::QUARANTINE LAWS:::::

    NOTE .. WE USUALLY ADVICE OUR CUSTOMERS TO PAY THEIR INSURANCE FEES WHICH WILL BE REFUNDED BACK TO YOU ONCE YOUR PUPPY IS DELIVER . AND IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT IF THIS INSURANCE FEES CAN NOT BE PAID, THEN YOUR PUPPY WILL BE QUARANTINE FOR FIVE MONTHS
    AS CHARGES WILL BE PLACE ON YOU FOR ANIMAL VIOLATION
    WE ARE EXPECTING YOU TO GET BACK TO US WITH THE INSURANCE FEES OF ($1.200).THIS WILL ENABLE YOUR PUPPIES FAST DELIVERY.

    INFORMATION TO USE AT THE WESTERN UNION FOR THE PAYMENT

    Names :….:…: Cedrick Tonfo Ngoufack
    Country :……..:…….:………: Malaysia
    State :……..:…….:……..: Kuala Lumpur
    City :……:……….:…….: K.L
    Zip Code :…..:……….:……: 5000
    Amount :……..:………:…….: ($1.200)

    YOU WILL HAVE TO USED ANY WESTERN UNION OFFICE STORES AVAILABLE AT YOUR LOCATION FOR THE PAYMENT
    WESTERN UNION ADDRESS CLOSER TO YOU

    Note:
    After making the payment through Western Union, You will have to send to us the payment details in this order:
    Sender’s Of The Money First Name:::::
    Sender’s Of The Money Last Name :::::
    WESTERN UNION REFERENCE NUMBER ( 10-DIGIT) ::::

    Thanks
    Customer Service
    BEST PET SHIPPERS
    E-Mail: http://www.bestpetshippers@hotmail.com
    Phone : [PERSONAL INFORMATION REMOVED]
    website: http://bestpetshippers.com/index.html

    From: Narinder
    Date: 22 de octubre de 2012 18:18:39 GMT+02:00
    To: “www.bestpetshippers@hotmail.com”
    Cc: krishna
    Subject: Payment details

    Payment details
    western union
    Sender
    name:- Narinder Singh
    City madrid
    Country spain
    Currency € 401,50
    Charges 30€
    Malaysia currency 1511’73
    Us $ 500
    Code 2914205062

    Tel. +[PERSONAL INFORMATION REMOVED]
    Sent from my iPad

    Begin forwarded message:

    From: Kriss
    Date: 22 October 2012 19:22:21 GMT+05:30
    To: Best Pet Shippers
    Subject: Re: Delivery Status Notification Of Your Male Pug Puppy (Springdale – Austin)

    Hello,

    It’s a night time here in india, so can only pay thru credit card.

    Please find a solution for me.

    I can’t send money thru western union.

    Please confirm.

    Best regards
    Krishna

    Sent from my iPad

    On 22 Oct 2012, at 19:10, Best Pet Shippers wrote:

    WELCOME TO BEST PETS AIRWAYS TRAVEL AGENCY

    PURPOSE OF MAIL :

    DEAR CLIENT,

    BEST PETS SHIPPER WISHES TO INFORM THE CLIENT WITH THE ADDRESS BELOW,THAT MR. DAVID WILLIAM FROM SPINGDALE MARYLAND HAS REGISTERED A PUG PUPPY TO BE TRANSPORTED AND DELIVERED TO THE FOLLOWING
    ADDRESS:

    Names ……. Candice
    Country ………. U.S.A
    State ……………… T.X
    City ………………… Austin
    Zip Code………… [PERSONAL INFORMATION REMOVED]
    Phone Number……. + [PERSONAL INFORMATION REMOVED] / [PERSONAL INFORMATION REMOVED]
    Address …….. [PERSONAL INFORMATION REMOVED]
    Email ……. krishna.aayushi@gmail.com

    Pets Information

    BREED: ————– Pug
    NAMES: ———– King
    SEX: ————- Male
    AGE: ————— 11 Weeks 4 Days
    QUANTITY ———— One
    E-MAIL ADDRESS — Williamdavid775@yahoo.com
    DELIVERED BY: ——– Mr. David William

    THIS PUPPY HAS BEEN EXAMINED AND REGISTERED BUT IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT PET SHIPPERS IS NOT GOING TO PROCEED WITH THE DELIVERY AS ONLY RESERVATION HAS BEEN MADE,WE ARE EXPECTING YOU TO GO MAKE THE PAYMENT FOR THE DELIVERY FEE OF THE PUPPY ($500)

    PAYMENT OPTIONS
    We do accept cash on desk, meaning the sender can pay at point of departure

    Secondly we do accept credit card, to pay with your credit card on-line…..UNDER MAINTENANCE

    Thirdly, we accept a wire transfer via Western Union, this payment is confirmed by our flight director.

    Since you are paying ($500) it will be preferable to use the last or third option which is a wire transfer via Western Union. The transfer has to be done directly to our international flight director of BEST PETS SHIPPER, who is in charge of deliveries,using the
    address below :

    INFORMATION TO USE AT THE WESTERN UNION FOR THE PAYMENT

    Names :….:…: Cedrick Tonfo Ngoufack
    Country :……..:…….:………: Malaysia
    State :……..:…….:……..: Kuala Lumpu
    City :……:……….:…….: K.L
    Zip Code :…..:……….:……: 5000
    Amount :……..:………:…….: ($500)

    YOU WILL HAVE TO USED ANY WESTERN UNION OFFICE STORES AVAILABLE AT YOUR LOCATION FOR THE PAYMENT
    WESTERN UNION ADDRESS CLOSER TO YOU

    Note:
    After making the payment through Western Union, You will have to send to us the payment details in this order:
    Sender’s Of The Money First Name:::::
    Sender’s Of The Money Last Name :::::
    WESTERN UNION REFERENCE NUMBER ( 10-DIGIT) ::::

    The flight information would be given to you after we get the flight activated,
    this would depend on when we get the confirmation for the payments.
    You are expected to reply to us as soon as you can so that we can get the flight activated.
    We do not keep pets for very long periods at our service,so we always advice customers to comply as soon as possible.

    Thanks
    Customer Service
    BEST PET SHIPPERS
    E-Mail: http://www.bestpetshippers@hotmail.com
    Phone : [PERSONAL INFORMATION REMOVED]
    website: http://bestpetshippers.com/index.html

    We ensure the inspection of all animals

    No matter what kind of pet you have, if there are teeth present, you can bet they require some care. At Goal PET SHIPPERS (B.P.S) we check it all to ensure your pets is not harmful to other pets in any way. So it is always good to do check up first before bringing your pet for shipping

    NOTICE

    DEAR CLIENT IF YOU WISH US TO DELIVER YOUR PUPPIES AT YOUR DOORSTEP JUST LET US KNOW WHILE THE MONEY PAID INCLUDES HOME DELIVERY IF YOU WISH OR PICK UP AT THE TERMINAL POINT

    Thanks for using our service.
    General Manager
    Maryland Branch
    MRS. Alice Barbara

    Dog/Birds and cat ground and air transport throughout USA and Other Nations
    __________________________________________________________________

    I am arranging the payment from Madrid, Spain. please ship puppy. I will send you the copy later today.

    Please do the needful ASAP.

    Best regards
    Krishna
    Sent from my iPad

    On 22 Oct 2012, at 19:23, Best Pet Shippers wrote:

    Can we have your number to call you …?
    _______________________________________________________________
    Hello David,

    The delivery address is as follows, it’s a birthday gift for Ms. Candice. gift is from me Krishna of Aayushi Designs, India.

    Ms. Candice
    John Roberts Enterprises INC.
    [PERSONAL INFORMATION REMOVED]
    USA

    # [PERSONAL INFORMATION REMOVED] , [PERSONAL INFORMATION REMOVED]

    Best regards
    Krishna
    Sent from my iPad

    On 22 Oct 2012, at 17:36, DAVID WILLIAM wrote:

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: Kriss
    Date: Mon, Oct 22, 2012 at 6:26 PM
    Subject: Re: Pug
    To: DAVID WILLIAM
    Cc: “adv.aayushi@gmail.com”

    I just spoke to you, can you quickly confirm vaccination and certification for the puppy?

    Await your quick response.

    Best regards
    Krishna

    Sent from my iPad

    On 22 Oct 2012, at 17:36, DAVID WILLIAM wrote:

    Hello,
    Thanks for getting to me concerning my lovely puppies they are still available both male and female named Roxy, King, Clody and Lily. they are 11 – 12 weeks old at the moment, their names are on their photo Roxy and King are the male while Clody and Lily are the female they are well trained and have a good temperaments and personality, pure breed and will definitely be of good looking to you and your family. They love playing with kids and other home pets. Your puppy will be coming with the following documents: Certificate of health, Health guarantee, Pedigree, Travel crate, A couple weeks’ food, transfer of ownership certificate and a care Manual book. However, before letting you have the puppy, i will like to know something’s about you, so i would like to ask you some questions. My questions are:

    1) Have you ever had a puppy before?
    2) Why do you need these puppies?
    3) Do you want them for breeding?
    4) Where are you located?
    5) Can you promise you can take very good care of them?
    6) How many will you need and what sex (es) male or female? Let us know the name of the one you will need.
    7) What kind of accommodation can you provide to this puppy?

    Each puppy goes for ($400). i am also located in
    [PERSONAL INFORMATION REMOVED] and my number is, [PERSONAL INFORMATION REMOVED]. With these puppies i am just looking for a good home for them. I have place the ad in so many states to look for any good family that can adopt any of them. if you really love any of them and you are not able to come for the pick up by yourself i can still let you have the puppy and i can arrange for the puppy to be ship over to your and it will cost you extra ($100) and that will make a total of ($500) for you to purchase and transport the puppy over to your home please do let me know the one you will be needing so that i can give you more information and pictures.
    Thanks and waiting
    Mr.David William

    Reply

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