Have you heard about the latest Internet scam, preying on your sympathy towards abandoned animals for the scammer to make money? Saw this article recently in the Hamilton Journal News.
Apparently, the scammer sends you an unsolicited e-mail, telling you that he has the cutest little purebred puppy who desperately needs a home. And since he can’t keep her himself, he’s begging you to take her off of his hands for the low, low price you’d expect to pay for a shelter dog.
This is similar to the e-mail where the scammer has received a check from his Nigerian uncle and needs to have you deposit in your account, then withdraw most of it and send it to him, keeping only your extravagant commission. Only the check bounces, and you are out the amount you sent him. In this variation, there is, of course, no puppy to be had. The scammer simply takes the money you wire to him and disappears. Suggestions to avoid being taken:
- Never respond to an unsolicited e-mail. If you can stop yourself in time, don’t even open them!
- If there is a link in any e-mail, copy and paste the address into a browser window rather than clicking on the link. This prevents you from being taken to a fake site.
- Be suspicious of e-mails that look “official” but contain typos or spelling mistakes.
- Never buy a puppy without seeing its parents live and in person. While the Internet can be a valuable tool to use in finding breeders, it is never a good idea to buy the dog sight unseen.
- If you want a dog at a shelter dog price, visit a shelter! (Duh!)
If you think you have been the victim of Internet fraud, contact your state attorney general’s office. Until next time, Good day, and good dog!