A month or two ago, I tried to put my dog up for adoption. I decided to use Petfinder, because it worked so well last year when we decided to get rid of my other dog and one of my cats. It is a great service and I do recommend it. I ultimately pulled my ad down, however, because I was getting way too many scams and nobody really seemed interested in my dog. If anybody actually is interested, he's a 6 year old American Eskimo, about 30 pounds, neutered, and UKC registered. He has been to obedience school. We decided to keep him for the time being. He's a great dog, but since we had children, animals are getting to be a hassle.
I don't have the wording of my original ad, but I laid out the details, the price, my contact information, and the fact that I would only deal with local buyers. Over Memorial Day weekend, I tried to sell some bedroom furniture on Craig's List, and I got all kinds of international scams. I'm no expert on import/export, but until I understand what profit there could be in paying an international shipping service to pick up a $150 waterbed, I will not deal with those people.
I saved the emails I got in reference to my dog in an seperate folder in Microsoft Outlook. I decided to post some of the more amusing ones here in case somebody is wondering what one of these scams looks like.
The first email that I got seemed legitimate and simply asked if I still had my dog. I replied that I did and never heard from the person again. Such is life trying to sell things online. The second email I got follows:
hello, how are you doing and your pet? Am **** by name and i will love to give your pet a loving home. i reside in utah with my husband and children and we will love to take your pet as an indoor family pet and we love pet so much than any other thing on earth ,so please let me know the last asking price and i will love to view the pics if available. payment will be made before shippment and my shipping company will handle the shipping , dont be bored about the shipping of this pet cos this company deals with transporting live pets across the coast which i have been a witness of. more so my mode of payment will be in an american cashiers check or money order check which will include the cost of the pet along with the shipping fees, you can get a hold of this shipping company for more information asper the shipping at email@example.com and they made it known to me that the pet will be pickup right in your door step with out you streesing your self and a vet check will be carried out on the pickup day by the shipers vet doctor. i look forward to hear from you in giving this pet a loving home , i await your response
I have edited the name out just on the off chance that this could have been legitimate. I completely understand that some Americans just cannot handle written English and I can live with that. However, I have NEVER in my life seen one American offer to pay another American in "American cashiers check". The shipping agency also is listed with a Yahoo address. I believe that the days have passed when a legit business would use a free email address. Shipping live animals probably involves extensive certifications anyway. I also specified the adoption fee in the ad, and that I would only deal with local buyers. Therefore, this is either a scam at worst or the person cannot read at best. However, looking at the poorly translated English ("dont be bored with the shipping of the pet"), I assume this is somebody somewhere else trying to scam me. I did not reply.
The next offer for adoption is as follows:
With sound of good health. I would like to re-home your lovely pet to become part of my loving and caring family. I want to make your pet a friend and a companion. I'm us citizen. I live at delray beach FL, but presently in ontario canada to accept a job offer with the american christian missionary as a Clergyman. I'm happily married with a kid and 2 house maids. I lost my most adorable pet some couple of days ago due to old age. I can assure you a 100% loving forever home for your pet. Pls, briefly tell me these: adoption fees,mode of feeding, present health condition, breed, and pic if available.
I have a viable and reliable pet carrier that will come to visit you face to face for the pick-up. I wait to hear back from you so that i can inform a Church member to issue out the payment. But for the payment, you have to forward your name,address and your phone number so that a certified money order/CK will be issue on your behalf which'll cover the adoption fees + $50 as reward offer for the up bringing of the pet + the shipping fees.
Reply swiftly. I'll forward the pictures of me, my house and my famly so that you can rest assure that your pet is coming to a loving family.
We cares for your pet. **** & ****
***Dedicated for your pet***
Animals are great to see
Fun to have as pets
Some I know I'd rather have
Than people that I've met
They never ask you questions
They rarely disagree
But always seem to know just when
To be there when need be
will make a bit of noise
To ask if we're ok
It's just their way of letting us know
That things will work some way
It's like they're trying to say to us
They know just how we feel
And only try to help us through
Our bothersome ordeal
Dogs will come wag their tail
Lift you up a paw
Looking at you with helpful eyes
Understanding what they saw
Cats will sit and study you
Before they come around
Trying to figure out when is best
To lift you when you're down
Birds are quiet when you're mad
Noisy when you're not
They'll only make a bit of noise
When the blues is all you've got
Animals know more than we think
They all have their moods too
Have you ever noticed when
They spend more time near you
Sometimes we take them all for granted
As well as some people too
Do you ever ask yourself
If you'd be there for you
Pets become a part of our hearts-
we adopt them as family right from the start.
We cast all our love on their kind, gentle souls,but, like you and I they too, grow old.
When we grow tired and weary, God gave us a choice- we have doctor's and care, but our pets have no voice.
***Loving heart **** & ****
Again, name has been edited just in case this was legit. This one came with a prose dedicated to "my pet". Still, even if this was legit, the adoption fee was clearly marked in the ad, as well as my insistance of a local adopter only. Scammers typically will request however they translate "latest price and fees" because they pretty much spam a lot of ads and hope for a hit.
This next one just about made me want to knock my head against the wall. I believe this is the one that made me rewrite my ad to say "I love my dog, and I will only deal with somebody that I can meet face to face".
Hello, i am mr micoud a vetenarinarian doctor and the director of pethouse hospital i live at ,31 Natal Road,Streatham,London,England,SW16 6JA, my phone number is +447024032112 i am highly interested in your pet coz i want to take it to my house to live with my family and I will like you to let me know the condition of the pet.I'll be paying with money order or cashier cheque which will be issue out by my client which will be coming to your location for the pick up of the pet.I'll instruct him to issue $3800 in your name .Immidiately you receive this cheque , i want you to take it to your bank, cash it immidiately and deduct your selling price and also deduct extra $200 for your running around and you'll send the excess to my client for the shipment of the pet alongside some other (pet ) i placed in order in care of him.he will also use the funds you'll send to him to settle some customs problem and for ticket fee in other to get to your location for the pick up of the pets immidiately you send the excess funds to him. The excess funds will be send to the client through westernunion for him to come to your place for the pick up 24hours after receiving the payment from you without giving you any stress.So, i do hope i can have trust about the excess funds which is meant for my client.I will like you to get back to me with the price of the pet and send the following information for the process of the payment. NAME........ ADDRESS............ CITY...... STATE.... ZIP CODE........ PHONE # BOTH HOME AND CELL..... I await your this info so that I can fax it down to my client that will send u the payment. THANKS
I didn't even bother to edit the name from this one. I also shouldn't have to bother pointing out why I believe this one to be nothing more than a scam. OK, I'm trying to put my dog's best foot forward, but seriously, he answers to the name "No, bad dog". You think he's worth $3800? This person also starts out by saying he wants to take my pet to live with him, then speaks of his client. Keep the story straight, OK? Again, all the info was clearly posted in my ad, including my number. One other point: scammers will typically offer to send you far more than the item is worth and ask you to cash the payment and send some back.
The next one is short and sweet and still smells of a scam. In the "to" block is another address than mine. It is possible that this one went to quite a few ads on Petfinder.
HELLO SELLER, I AM MRS ****, I WILL LIKE YOU TO KNOW THAT MY FAMILY IS REALY INTRESTED IN MAKING YOUR PET PART OF OUR FAMILY...PLEASE IT WILL BE OF GREAT JOY IF YOU CAN LET US HAVE IT COS WE REALY NEED IT AMONG OURS SINCE WE LOST OUR PET... SO I WILL NEED YOU TO SEND TO ME IT'S RECENT PICTURE,WHY YOU WANT TO SELL IT AND YOU LAST ASKING PRICE...... THEN AS SOON AS YOU SEND ALL THIS WE CAN MOVE FAST TO PAYMENT. BECOUSE I WILL COMING OVER TO YOUR PLACE TO PAY AND PICK THE PET UP MY SELF... THANKS.... THE **** FAMILY
I edited the name, however. I did not see a reason to take this one seriously.
This final one was my last straw:
Hello Dear Sir / Madam,
Good to meet you, My name is ****.I located at Arlington,Texas. I saw your profile online that you are will rehome your pet to your posted PET/DOGS for adoption and also immediately, I got so fascinated about having the item. I am an honest, caring Woman with the utmost fear of God. Having the item is like owning a fortune and the thought of me makes my vein leap for joy because i really Love PET.I have a very big compound and a wide playing groung where the pets can also play.I have 3 kids and they really loves pet.I will really take goodcare of her.
I will like you to foward to me the LAST COST PRICE so as i can make payment sent to you as soon as possible.I will have my Pet Transporter Company comes for the Pick-Up as soon as the Payment is Cleared from the Bank.Will email you the Pet Transporter Companies Email address when you got the payment pet.
Get back to me with the Adoption fee charges.I will be responsible for the pick-up my my personal pet transporting company who will come for the pick-up of the pet at your destination after you might have gotten the payment for the adoption charges cashed.
I will prefer you email me back as soon as possible with your details to make the payment via A Certified US MONEY ORDER or a CERTIFIED US CHECK .
Email me back with this Below Information:
NAME ON CHECK:
PHONE NUMBER :
Have a splendid day.
Again, name edited out. This one seriously reeks of a scammer's form letter. "Having the item is like owning a fortune and the thought of me makes my vein leap for joy because i really Love PET." I don't even want to know what that means. My dog is not "the item". After this one, I pulled the ad down and told my wife that if she wants my dog in another home, she can post the ad and deal with the nutcases herself. I'm through with it.
Not all of my responses were this horrible. I did have an email exchange with one person about an American Eskimo adoption agency. However, I had no serious inquiries and I decided to keep my dog.
By the way, if you're interested in hearing about how one person scored a victory over a scammer, check this out.