Breaking News: Furkids Takes on Scammers!
Strap on that helmet, and pull your seat belt tight, y'all...we're about to take you on a wild ride!
A couple of weeks ago, we were alerted to an organization called atlanticbreeders.com by a reader. Their street address is identical to ours, except it doesn't have a suite number. The poster wondered if this was a scam; and we wondered if our landlord had rented space to a dog breeder. We did a little investigating.
More questions came in over the next few days - we were puzzled, and distressed that anyone would think Furkids had an an affiliation with a breeder. After all, one of our missions is to convince people to "Adopt, Don't Shop"!
Then, last Saturday, we got a plea from someone who was supposed to pay a "deposit" on a pup by close of the day. He was frantic for information on this organization that, he thought, shared our physical space.
We dug deep. Turns out, the Atlantic Breeders phone number - which appears to be local to Atlanta - is actually a spoofed number in Cameroon! And it had been attached a couple of months ago to another organization, Coastal Breeders, also in Cameroon.
More research uncovered "The Rest of the Story". Like the Nigerian Prince scam, this one has its own name - the Cameroonian Non-Delivery Pet Scam. And there are HUNDREDS of players in the game!
Here's how it works: You want a purebred Siberian Husky pup. You peruse this pretty website, with glowing testimonials, and cute pics of puppies, and call a local number. They promise to "reserve" a pup for you from the next litter, for a small down payment, and weekly/monthly payments after that. You get a pic of the mom and dad, and regular updates.
(The dogs, by the way, aren't local - they are across the country, or in Canada, or someplace else far away. So you can't visit. But you will get lots of pics when your pup is born.)
YAY! Pups are here! Keep making those payments, and your girl will be ready to go in 12 weeks! Except, there are additional medical costs that pop up, and the food they use just had a price increase. Oh, and you need to purchase pet insurance before they can send her to you.
Time to make arrangements for transport...did you want the upgraded larger crate? Should we provide food and water while she travels? Put her in the main cabin or First Class, rather than the dark hold? Escort her on her trip? All extra, of course.
At this point, you might just decide to forget the whole thing. But you can't! Because, you're told, you "legally" own the dog! You MUST make arrangements for her to leave her current situation, and you'll have to pay daily board until you do! Plus, here are pictures of your sad pup waiting...to go home...
And, the transport team has already confirmed her trip. You MUST pay them, or they will sue you. The paperwork is already drawn up.
Friends finally convince you that you've been scammed, puppy pics or not. You go to the breeder website, to copy their info and report them to - somebody - and, POOF! They're gone. With thousands of your dollars. Which you wired, because they don't take credit cards (too much credit card fraud, they say!)
We can't stop folks in faraway places from engaging in crime, but we CAN educate all of our friends, family, and followers about buying pets on line. We had a great opportunity to share the option of adoption - which saves the life of the adopted pet, and the life of the next pup we rescue, too - with the man who was about to pay that first deposit. The family is seriously considering it!
We are angry that these people are stealing money from animal lovers. We are furious that they're using our address. And we want to SHUT. THEM. DOWN. We have alerted the media, we have made complaints on Internet watchdog sites. Now we are asking YOU to SHARE the Cameroonian Non-Delivery Pet Scam with EVERYONE, so it's as notorious as that Nigerian Prince.
Expose the fraud. Promote "Adopt, Don't Shop". Together, we protect pocketbooks, and save more lives. Thank you, Rescue Partners, we love you!