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Karlin
10th October 2007, 11:40 AM
A new form of this classic internet scam. DON'T WIRE MONEY FOR PUPPIES and check out the breeder with local clubs. If the price and story seem too good to be true -- they are!!:


Nigerian puppy scam can be Web of deceit
Tuesday, October 09, 2007

By Linda Wilson Fuoco, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Stephanie Wegman wanted a puppy, and the cash-strapped college student thought she had found a bargain on the Internet.

The senior at Santa Clara University in California exchanged e-mails with James Moore, who was offering his puppy free to a good home because as a missionary recently assigned to Africa, he was too busy to properly care for his long-haired Cavalier King Charles spaniel.

Ms. Wegman could have the puppy if she promised a loving home and sent $300 to cover shipping, Mr. Moore wrote in an e-mail.

Ms. Wegman, 21, of Redwood City, Calif., sent her $300 by Western Union. But instead of shipping the puppy, Mr. Moore sent her another e-mail saying there were "problems" and she needed to send $600 for "shipping insurance." Her demands for a puppy or a refund have been met with another e-mail from Mr. Moore, asking for more money.

Ms. Wegman was a victim of the Nigerian Puppy Scam, which has been crossing the country for more than a year. Much of the fraud is transpiring on the Internet -- e-mails sent directly to consumers or puppy ads posted on legitimate Web sites. Some of the scammers are buying classified ads in newspapers, including the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

A Google search for "Nigerian Puppy Scam" turns up more than 200,000 "hits." Warnings abound on many Web sites, including the Internet Crime Complaint Center and sites and e-mail lists of interest to dog lovers. Warnings have been sent out by the American Kennel Club and the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

The puppies are often advertised as having AKC registration papers. Duped consumers complained to the AKC, as do legitimate breeders who say pictures of their puppies are being e-mailed to people who answer ads for free or cheap puppies in Nigeria and other African countries.

"They apparently pull pictures off legitimate Web sites," said Daisy Okas, AKC vice president of communications. "It started out with bulldog puppies."

That breed was a canny choice for a scam, since bulldog puppies generally sell for $1,000 to $3,000. Because bulldogs have big heads, wide shoulders, deep chests and narrow hips, they have small litters that generally have to be delivered by Caesarean section. That makes the dogs difficult and expensive to breed.

Ms. Okas said while many of the ads are still for bulldogs or English bulldogs, Yorkshire terriers are also featured prominently in fraudulent ads.

In the ads, puppy prices are very low or are advertised as free to a good home. People who respond are asked to send $300 or $500 just to cover shipping. After people send money, they are then asked to send more.

"One lady was told that when her puppy was shipped the plane crashed and they needed money for veterinary bills," said Alison Preszler of the Council of Better Business Bureaus in Arlington, Va. Steve Cox, vice president of communications for the council, said consumers can be duped by a scammer's sincerity.

"But then the fees for shipping the pet mount up and the consumer can lose hundred of dollars before realizing they've been conned and will never get their puppy," he said.

Neither the council nor the AKC is aware of any arrests or prosecutions.

Not everyone falls for the scam.

Barbara Carnes of Pleasant Hills contacted the Post-Gazette after responding to a puppy ad that ran recently in the Post-Gazette.

"The ad said 'Adopt Me' and it was for a bulldog puppy," Mrs. Carnes said.

There was no telephone number, so the couple responded to a Yahoo e-mail address.

"We thought we'd make arrangements and go see the puppy," Ms. Carnes said. "A man e-mailed back to say he was a missionary in West Africa."

Mrs. Carnes had never heard about the Nigerian Puppy Scam, but she thought the price of the puppy was too good to be true.

That ad was pulled from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after Mrs. Carnes reported it.

First published on October 9, 2007 at 12:00 am
Anyone who has experienced a dog-related scam should report it to the local Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org) or AKC Customer Service 919-233-9767. Linda Wilson Fuoco can be reached at lfuoco@post-gazette.com or 412-263-3064.


From: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07282/823941-338.stm#

Nancy
10th October 2007, 12:34 PM
I was helping a friend in AZ find a yorkshire terrier. These people actually posted in petfinder.com, but with a Canadian area code. I reported them, because it just got fishier by the minute...the picture they sent was very clever, a little yorkie puppie beside a cowboy boot, which would be very Arizona'ish. She kept insisting I speak with her husband, they never asked anything more of me than that I was a Christian home. I asked if Jewish was ok, lol, that threw them for a loop!

arasara
10th October 2007, 12:48 PM
Call me crazy, but believe it or not, I was "involved" with a person who was in the "Nigerian Puppy Scam."

I exchanged e-mails with her a few times before she "mysteriously disappeared" (and was banned off the site she was on as well.)

There was an ad on a local place (like craig's list) around here in Toronto stating there were 2 cavalier puppies in needs of homes. They were very cute puppies, but I wrote to see if I could help her in any way.

She stated she was in Nigeria, doing "God's work" and unable to care for these puppies anymore. Her "missionary work" was taking too much of her time and she felt she could not care for the puppies the way they should be cared for. She loved them so much that she was "taking a hit" and selling them both at the same time. :eek:

I was confused - I thought I was answering an ad for dogs that needed help in Canada - not Nigeria!! I couldn't understand why on earth she would try to relocate to Canada so I started questioning her not only about that, but also about the health certificates, where she got them etc.. ..

I guess she caught on that I wasn't going to "wire her money" for the dogs and she stopped emailing me.. the following time I logged into this account, I seen she'd been banned although it didn't tell me the reason why. . .

Anyways, I guess the moral of the story is be careful and always ask too many questions!!!! :flwr:

Barbara Nixon
10th October 2007, 12:58 PM
I suppose this is the next stepfrom the Nigerian 'you have won on the lottery' scam.

sramirez
10th October 2007, 02:45 PM
I saw a TV news show regarding the Nigerian scams - not only do they use the "puppy" scam, but also here in the states they're using the internet email "boyfriend" scam. There are actually a number of women who have fallen in love with these Nigerian scam artists from pictures and obviously sending money so their new "loves" can come to the U.S. to marry/see them. Then when nobody shows up at the airport -

Sad so many of us get taken in by these kind of people. They will definitely prey on anyone who has a kind and generous heart.

Sheri

Cathryn
10th October 2007, 07:13 PM
Its also happening with horses as well, my friend had a colleage who was stung for $20 thousand for an Oldenburg she wanted to do Dressage with, they even emailed vets reports etc to her, it wasn't until she rang the airport to double check the flight number she realised there was something up, although she had paid a deposit and vets fee's plus the flight and coouldn;t egt those back, she did manage to stop the transfer of the other $30 thousand that would have completed the sale :eek: :eek: