They are simply irresistible.
And that is what scammers count on.
Puppy ads are one of the popular scams that makes the rounds of the Parkland. The criminals target their victims through advertisements, usually in a newspaper. The Daily Journal has changed its classified policy in response to the advertisement scams. Typically, they no longer place such ads if they are unable to talk with the seller in person or by phone.
The puppy e-mails generally offer purebred puppies for sale and include contact information solely by e-mail. When one Farmington resident saw an ad for “Tea cup yorkie pups, male and female, available for a caring home, email email@example.com now,” she dropped the seller a line.
“I am 63 years old and looking for a small lap companion,” she wrote. “I used to have a yorkie/poo that was stolen. Could you please e-mail or call me with more information? Perhaps a picture…”
The reply from “Rev. Mr. and Mrs. Peter Scott” came quickly, along with two pictures of Annie, an adorable Yorkshire terrier pup with perky ears, button eyes and a face that could melt stone.
“Thank you for your interest in my lovely babies,” the e-mail read. “They are still very much available for new home.They are 11 weeks old, they weigh 1.3lbs and they will be 4lbs at full grown. They are AKC registered and their shots are given up to date,They are vet checked and healthy.All their papers will accompany them…”
Ah, but there was one catch. The Scotts were in Africa on a Christian mission and the puppies were there as well. The payment would have to be made through a shipping agent by way of Western Union.
“We are going to ship them to you via Express pets delivery on next day delivery after shipment through a shipping agent, i am leaving each of them for $400 Including shipping,if you are willing to have both I will give them to you for $700 including shipping and handling fee.”
Someone must have forgotten to tell Rev. Scott the rules for quarantining animals before they can leave/enter another country. If the sale was legitimate, the buyers would not see the animals for at least several weeks, if not months.
Rev. Scott wanted the woman’s full name, address, phone number and nearest airport. In case she was getting suspicious, he reassured her that he is a caring pet owner.
“Please if you know that you are not going to take very good care of my babies do not reply me because i am only giving them out because we don’t have time to take care of them again due to the mission work before us here.”
Hopefully, that mission work does not include teaching English spelling and grammar.
The e-mail included phone numbers, but the Farmington woman had already realized she was dealing with a scammer. In these schemes, people send the money, but never receive the puppies.
When buying a puppy, it is best to deal with a reputable breeder or, at the very least, see the animal for yourself before parting with your money.
The Daily Journal has made a commitment to keep readers abreast of scams that hit our area. If someone tries to make you the victim of a scam, call us at 431-2010 and tell us what happened. We will include your story in our scam alert series to prepare others who may find themselves in the same situation. The Daily Journal will run Scam Alert stories in the paper every Saturday.