Pet lovers beware - there's a new scam in town.

big eyed pup

If you thought those Nigerian scammers could not sink any lower, think again. It was reported today by WTAE.TV that there's a new scam making the rounds, and this time the scammers are praying on the good nature of pet lovers.

It's a simple enough set-up. Someone either emails or posts an ad (often local, so beware of Craigslist and MySpace) featuring a beautiful free puppy. Many reasons are given for the free giveaway, ranging from a poor environment to lack of funds to keep the little pup. The correspondance tugs on the heart strings like a professional harp player, hitting all the right notes. And then when you reply saying you'd like the free puppy, the con begins.

First, they'll ask for the hefty shipping fee to be sent, something like $160. If you bite, and send the fee, then all of a sudden the shots for the pooch will need to be administered. And guess what, they're not cheap. Before you know it, you've sent several hundred dollars to someone you don't know. Most likely the dog doesn't even exist, and cute pictures of helpless puppies are not exactly difficult to come by online (see main picture).

If you really do want to adopt a dog and give a homeless animal a good life, go to your local Humane Society or animal adoption center. They are legitimate, you'll need to pay a few fees for adoption, but at least you know everything is above board and the money is helping real animals. The people who commit these crimes are animals of an entirely different kind.

Main photo of a beautiful pup by Shuck . Thanks, it's wonderful.

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Andrea Karim's picture

Thanks for the heads up. I have a friend who is looking to adopt, so I'll try to make sure that the word gets out about this.

I miss the days when Craigslist was just a bunch of engineers trying to resell their IKEA furniture or get a date. Sigh.

Guest's picture

This sounds like a scam, but there are legitimate breeders out there who charge the same fees. Shipping an animal is not cheap, not are shots in most areas. The total price should always be clear when you agree to purchase the dog. No breeder is going to advertise their dogs as "free."

Paul Michael's picture

Legitimate breeders will be upfront about all fees. And legitimate breeders would never advertise a purebred puppy as Free To Good Home, before hitting you with a ton of fees. And remember, the Nigerian Scammers will not be sending you a puppy either. All they want is your cash.

Guest's picture

We went down to our local SPCA a tried to adopt one of the 5 small dogs they had posted with pic on the net as "available". They were either sick today, or all of a sudden in need of more training, or 'just adopted.' I listened to one of the volunteers talk a nice-looking young woman out of adopting a larger, pit bull mix dog. Several families expressing interest in adopting dogs were all sent-off without a dog ahead of me too. I don't know why on earth my local San Mateo SPCA would want to KEEP all their 'available' dogs, but it sure seems like they do.

Guest's picture

hey you,you think you know everything about scamming just wait untill you become a victim through me.FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL