I'm writing this blog to warn people who use craigslist looking for pets, especially popular dogs such as yorkies, chihuahuas, pugs, pitbulls, golden retrievers and labradors.
I went online in search of getting a golden retriever or yellow lab. I decided to post an ad in CL. I posted that I wanted a young female that was already potty-trained, but wanted it donated to me because I was going to train it to be my Working Service Dog since my disabilities are increasingly getting worse to the point to where I spend more time in my wheelchair than using my walker.
They replied to the email that CL listed anonymously for that post. They sounded sincere, very christian, and legit. They claimed to be living in Dallas, Texas...just moved there 4 weeks prior, and their 12 wk old golden retriever was not allowed in their housing. They wanted someone who they could trust to be a great family to their little girl, Bambi.
They sent me 6 pics of her. Right then I should've been leary because 2 of those pics the puppy appeared to be much darker...redder in color than the other 4.
Not once would they tell me their names, addresses, phone #, and refused to show pics of themselves, their home, and their business. They claimed to of been married for 2 years, and unable to have children. Also that they both were deaf. They bought Bambi in their home state of Utica, New York right before they moved with hopes of getting her trained to service them.
In desperation for finding Bambi a good home in a hurry, and fear that if they didn't find someone willing to take her, that they would be forced to place her in their local high-kill shelter.
Out of fear for Bambi's life, and because I could sympathize with them because they were disabled (like me), I choose to help. That's when they hit me with this...
They wanted a re-homing fee of $200. They claimed that she was AKC certified, all shots UTD and would come with a one year health guarantee. To have her shipped via airplane it would cost an additional $150.
I told them that I couldn't afford $350. And I stated that I was under the impression that they were desperate, and the situation was urgent. They told me that they, too, didn't have much money, and that's part of the reason for asking for the re-homing fee. Then they continued to ask me how much I could afford, and I told them $150. They happily & eagerly accepted.
Now, keep in mind that I'm making a long story short. These ppl were sweet, very cunning, posed to be very religious, especially the way that they always ended their emails. And they sounded very desperate...pleaing with me to give their baby a new & wonderful forever family. But....I started realizing that there were a lot of gaps in things that they would write about, and would say things that were totally different from one email to another. Basically about things that made you go "hmmmm."
Another thing that I want to clear-up and clarify in this blog. First off... I'm getting some nasty emails about it being my fault, or I wasn't following CraigsList "Rules" (which in the CL Community section in the "how to avoid scams" section it states that it's a "common-sense" rule..not a CL rule), that it served me right for buying from breeders, and the list goes on.
My point is that I NEVER CONDONE ADOPTING OR BUYING PETS FROM BREEDERS, NOR DO I AGREE IN ADOPTING FROM...1) High-kill shelters, because the outrageous adoption fees just help pay for the injectible drug used to euthanize animals, ...and 2) I try to steer clear of no-kill shelters because all of those pets already stand a chance. What I DO condone (and believe in) is that I only rescue animals that are in a drastically urgent and/or emergency situations.
Point & case noted that I am...1) an active animal rights activist, and...2) I'm active in speaking out against animal abuse & cruelty. Animals including birds have been my whole life's calling. I own a Triton Cockatoo (rescued from a parrot-stealing operation,... a Quaker parrot that was rescued from a couple who were abusing it by beating it all the time,... my Maine Coon cat that suffered from living in deplorable conditions at his owners pet store the 1st 12 wks of his life,...and a chihuahua that had been rescued from a large puppy mill operation.
Back to my blog....When they asked me to send the $150 Western Union they promised to ship her that very day. Somehow, mysteriously, they knew exactly what to do. They explained that they knew exactly which airplane made same day deliveries for pets, all about tracking the flight, what I needed when I went to pick her up, etc. When they asked for the money Western Union all bells went off in my head.
Immediately I called Indianapolis International Airport and asked if I could pre-pay a shipment of an animal by credit card that would be coming from Dallas, Texas and arriving at Indianapolis, Indiana, so she could safely be delivered. The Customer Service Representative said "Yes." I was shocked, yet pleased, that I did NOT have to Western Union any money & that I'd have a receipt in-hand showing that I did pay for their golden.
So, I emailed them back and told them that (just so it would make the transaction more believable since it felt too good to be true) I needed some information from them.
At this point, (from the 1st letter written by them up until now) I had absolutely no clue as to what their first and last names were, their business that they claimed to own, their phone or cell number, etc. But the one question I had asked them in their first email... that they NEVER answered back on was this one..."How did you find my ad on CL all the way from Texas to Indiana?"
Now, the only questions that I had decided to ask them was not illegal and considered invasion of privacy. I only asked them questions that I would of asked anyone else if I had been interviewing them for a job (I used to be a Manager of Toys r Us for years, & I had interviewed 1000's of ppl before).
I asked them for 3 references from people that were not related to them & that they knew for at least a year, their full names, addresses, phone #'s, their business' phone # & address, pics of them & their home with Bambi, their drivers license # with expiration date & which state it had been purchased at so that I could have a background check done on them, and (most importantly) how did they find out about my ad all the way from Texas to Indiana on CraigsList (they obviously were phishing)?
Well, needless to say, I got back a nasty email that said I had embarrassed them by all of the questions I had asked of and about them. That they just KNEW that I would do this to them (hmmmmm). That they couldn't believe how sweet, caring & devoted I was up until this email, They refused to give me any of the information that I had asked for, thereby ended the transaction plan of Bambi, and I never heard back from them.
It was a well-rehearsed, thought-up & choreographed scheme. I could tell that they had done this before, but they still weren't too smart from all of the "slipped" hints I found in each of their 5 emails.
If you're curious about all of the emails they had sent me...I have a completed document of everything that they wrote to me if you would like to review it. Just email me and ask for me to send it to you by email. Just put in the subject line "Craigslist scammers" so I know it's not junk mail.
Below is more information that I got from them before this whole thing ended.
Name: Victoria Rigdon
From: Dallas, TX
Zip Code: 75201
HELPFUL HINTS TO AVOID SCAMMERS
*Want you to send money thru Western Union, or by cash, or money orders
*The deal sounds too good to be true
*Most do make themselves sound religious
*Many are from South America, Africa, India, and Panama, but (like my case) can be in the States
*Does their pictures look too unrealistic
*DO NOT BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS AND GET PERSONAL. If they cower or shut-down, or just get pissed then you know that they're scammers. A real person wouldn't hesitate to answer those questions.
*Most importantly...trust your gut feeling. I got a stomach ache right before I finally realized it was a scam. Your body knows you better than anyone else. If it doesn't feel right...it probably isn't.
1) Lets pass this note on. Copy & paste it in your blogs, on facebook, twitter, myspace, yearbook, etc. The word can spread real fast. We need to let these jackasses know that us Americans are smarter than them, and that they need to stop praying on poor, disabled, or even normal people here. To stay in their country and out of ours. We're having enough problems with our economy. We don't need this shit. We won't stand for it. We won't allow it. Let's push them out of the USA.
2) I will be adding and posting more information about this scam as I get the time to sit down and "really" give time to it.
CONTINUATION OF THIS BLOG (Part 2)