“How Much to Ship a Bird?” Are Puppy Scams Being Replaced by Bird Scams?

Buying a Bird Online? Watch out for Scams

Puppy scams are cruel, frustrating, and unbelievably common. We frequently take calls from pet lovers who have been scammed, and we've discussed how to avoid being the victim of a puppy scam numerous times on our blog.

Often puppy scams consist of people offering to give away (usually extremely cute) puppies at no cost, asking instead for a “relocation fee.”

They typically stipulate that money be transferred via Western Union to a faraway place (that's a huge red flag—never wire money to an unknown source), and then they often continue to request more payments when problems arise surrounding the transfer of the “dog,” which most likely doesn't even exist in the first place. 

Recently we've seen a new twist to all of this—we're starting to hear from people who have fallen prey to bird scams, too. They seem to work in much the same way, with the arrangements involving a “relocation fee,” wired money, and routing to Cameroon.

We recently received an email from an animal lover who was contacted about receiving an African Grey Parrot “free of charge except for transportation” for the dubiously low cost of $280. Exotic birds, such as African Greys and also Macaws, seem to be the focus of these new scams. (Note that the realistic costs for shipping such a bird will probably be over $1,000.)

We offer the same advice to people looking for birds as we do to people looking for puppies: do not send money to people you don't know, check out credentials and web sites to uncover anything fishy, and if you're truly looking for a new pet, it's best to deal locally.

If you are taken in by a bird or puppy scammer, what can you do? Unfortunately the people committing the fraud are difficult to report because they tend to disappear easily and quickly, but you can try reporting them by contacting the Cameroon Embassy (if the scammer worked out of Cameroon) or you can post the information on Fraudwatchers.org.

Please contact PetRelocation if you have any questions about bird or puppy scams. Unfortunately there are some dishonest people out there, so be smart and deal locally!


Editor's Note: This post was originally published in June 2012 and has been updated with new information.


PetRelocation Team





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By DON KEALOHA on October 31, 2018 at 10:28 pm

Talk to them on the phone, and if they speak with an African accent, its a scam for sure. These scammers are usually from Scameroon or Nigeria because stealing from people is part if their culture.

By Melissa Graham on July 26, 2018 at 2:13 pm

I tried to report to the Cameroon embassy but honestly couldn't figure out how to do it.I nearly fell for a scam this morning. A woman named Natasha Kay Ann was on a local facebook garage sale and swap shop page (this one was for Independence, Missouri) offering a 6 year old Umbrella Cockatoo named Chillo for rehoming. After contacting her she copy/pasted a ton of Cockatoo care information I later found word for word on a website about them (a real owner wouldn't need to copy/paste the info) and said she was disabled due to an accident that killed her husband and hurt her she was learnign to walk again and couldnt care for Chillo. Said no rehoming fee, came with everything he needed, just needed the RIGHT home.At first the conversation seemed legitimate, but when I finally agreed to take the bird red flags raised. First I asked when I could pick Chillo up, but was told that she actually lived in another state (Oklahoma) and that she could deliver him to us via a transportation courrier that would fly him to Missouri for $200. I immediately felt it was a scam and researched, finding this here. Her request for my information was nearly identical to what I've seen listed here. another copy/paste job.After reporting her to the page admin, I purposefully messaged her saying my husband said no to the bid after all because he'd heard about scams similar to what her circumstances were and he didnt want to risk it. I got immediately blocked. Her fb profile was locked (i checked before the last message and screen capped everything) but the one picture she had on there was liked by a couple people, whose locations were Cameroon. I didn't get much personal info other than her address being "333 NW 5th st Oklahoma city, OK 73102"Once I saw that I knew instantly it was this scam. So, yeah here is just another alias to watch out for I guess, though who knows if it's a real name.

By Maegan at PetRelocation on July 27, 2018 at 10:34 am

Thanks for the heads up, Melissa! If you go to the IPATA pet scams page, there is a button toward the bottom that says "Report a Scammer" here and you can report it as well there. Best of luck!

By Kelly on February 3, 2018 at 10:47 pm

Is anyone know about the metz bird farm website? From hampton, VA... is it trustworthy?

By Christine Abbott on August 7, 2017 at 4:02 pm

I believe this to be a scam as well. How can I email the one sent to me ?

By caitlin@petrelocation.com on August 7, 2017 at 4:45 pm

Hi Christine, if you'd like, you can copy and paste what they sent you and share it here so that others can avoid them. Either way, if you think it's a scam (which it probably is) then you should cut off communication with them. Thank you and good luck!

By Michelle on August 5, 2017 at 10:16 pm

I am trying to purchase an African Grey and the person is asking for 150.00 to transfer ownership papers for the bird. Is this something that has to be done legal to sale a bird?

By caitlin@petrelocation.com on August 7, 2017 at 9:24 am

Hi Michelle, that sounds like a scam. We advise treading carefully and watching out for the warning signs listed above -- better yet, try dealing locally if possible. Good luck!

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