You've gone online to search for a puppy and stumbled across a free Yorkie puppy named "Romeo." Or maybe an adorable English bull dog puppy with droopy eyes, or a free Pomeranian puppy named "Candy." It might even be a free Persian or Siberian kitten. The owners of the puppy aren't asking for any money -- except for the shipping costs.
Sometimes there's a sad story that goes along with the puppies. The puppy's owner will tell you that their daughter died, and it was her puppy, or that they are adopting an orphan and won't have time to care for the puppy.
They'll ask you some questions, meant to pull at your heartstrings and make you want to qualify to get this free puppy:
Where are you located?
Are you a breeder?
Do you have kids?
Can you also promise that you will take good care of him/her?
But they want some money to ship the puppy, and they want it sent as a Western Union. Many times they want you to send this Western Union to somewhere like Douala, Cameroon in Nigeria. Sometimes it will be California.
Every day, PetRelocation takes phone calls from people who have been victims of puppy scams. It all seems so reasonable, just to pay the shipping costs. People want to know how much PetRelocation will charge to arrange the shipping and we have to explain that there is no puppy. The puppy scammers will not release the puppy to a reputable company like ours because the puppy does not exist. They only want to get your money, however small amount, in cash.
Here are some names of fraudulent companies and email addresses we have identified:
USA PET RELOCATION Delivery Service
WORLD WIDE PETS RELOCATORS
PETS RELOCATORS TRANSPORTATION AGENCY
PET DELIVERY/AIR TRANSPORT DEPARTMENT, PET SHIPPING AGENCY SINGAPORE
GLOBAL PETS TRAVEL SERVICE
10/22/10 UPDATE - Please read!
If you have been scammed by a puppy shipper, feel free to post your correspondence in the "comments" section below this post as others have done, as it will help to deter the criminals. However, please note: Delete any of your own personal contact information from the correspondence you are copy/pasting into your comment prior to posting your comment. Many scammers are considered to be dangerous and it is important not to publish your name, address and phone number online. If you have posted your own information and would like it removed, please email us (blog[at]petrelocation[dot]com) to let us know your name and the information you'd like removed.
"I have been scammed, what can I do to report the scammer?"
1. Put as much information about the scammer as possible in the comments section below, including:
Email address of the scammer
Western Union name that the money was sent to (or that they asked the money be sent to)
Phone numbers/addresses given by the scammer
Any other information
2. Fax a letter of complaint to the US Embassy in Cameroon (if you were scammed by someone in Cameroon):
The United States Embassy in Cameroon
Phone: (237) 2220-1500
Fax (237) 2220-1500x4531
3. Post the scam information on Fraudwatchers.org, an online watchdog group for online scams.