New Dogs, Same Old Tricks

Post Christmas is always a good time for hearing about new scams.

The gullible, fresh from their festive activities are waking up, sans headache, to discover those late running presents are not coming at all.

A new scam that caught a few people out just prior to Christmas day involved mans’ best friend.. the humble, yet cute and adorable, dog.

Wondering what to get the loved one as a present, a few unlucky people have searched around for a cute dog or puppy to give as a special gift. $1000 later and the affectionate mutt is there’s through internet classified ads.

Or so they think.

Yeah, you guessed it.

After sending payment to Cameroon or Nigeria through Moneygram or Western Union there are suddenly problems.

There’s vets bills to take care of, special travel documents to buy and then anything else the scammer can think of as an excuse to make more money out of his victim.

When the buyer suddenly wakes up and realises they are paying more and more and not receiving their dog, the scammer has disappeared with all of their money.

This is very much a “Nigerian 419” scam.

Collecting a fee in advance, trying to bump it up and ultimately delivering nothing.

The dog angle is certainly different though.

Guess the scammers have realised now that people will smell a rat when they are being offered the chance to launder millions by a stranger!

If you are thinking of buying a pet through the online classifieds then look out for the following signs that it could be a scam –

  • the seller seems too helpful and are far too easy to contact
  • any documentation they post or fax to you looks suspect – they have printers, photocopiers, etc for faking these
  • they have top quality photos of the animal – how many Nigerians have state of the art digital cameras? More likely they downloaded the images from the internet
  • they expect payment in advance via Wester Union, Moneygram, etc that are not set up to deal with cases of fraud and will pay out without proof of identity checks
  • they will drop their asking price by huge amounts if they feel you are losing interest – after all, they are happy to scam you out of any amount if they believe they can.
About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. How can people do this with dogs? They are such loving pets.

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