Watch Out for Online Shopping Scams – What to Look For

by Mike on March 3, 2011

The hubby and I decided we wanted a puppy! Anyone that knows me knows I am a dog lover ~ always has been. So I’m very excited about bringing a puppy home. We knew we were going to get a dog once most of the major home renovations were out the way. Now that’s done and we made the decision it’s time to begin shopping!

I appreciate all dogs so I’m not concerned with pedigrees or papers…in fact, all my past canines have been certified mutts!

We scoured the papers and found a lab mix pup that was being given away….by the time we called, the pup was gone. DOG GONE IT! πŸ™‚ The search continues….

I have no interest in breeding and as I already stated….I’m a mutt lover! I would rather purchase a dog a little to no cost and use the money saved towards puppy-care. With that in mind, I sorted the ads by price, lowest to highest. This little cutie caught my eye among the free ads:

puppyCurrent on all shots as well as vaccines

Love to play and go for walks

Looking for a home wher they would be spoiled with love

Serious ontacts only please

Contact………… willanthony9@g***

Wow, what a cute pet that would make I thought. I didn’t notice the misspellings in the ad or become suspicious by the 10+ other identical ads by the same seller. So I emailed the seller:

Do you have any lab pups still available? I would be willing to pick up today. My husband and I own a home with a huge basement and backyard.

Please let me know!


A couple days later I received the following email reply:

Thanks for your respond in regards to our puppies. Ricky (male) and
Lola(female) are the 2 available puppies awaiting a new home. They are
hand raised, hand fed, potty and home trained domestics. They have a
good relationship with other home pets, well socialized, pre-spoiled.
They are Vet checked with updated vet records, current on vaccines,
shots and wormed. They have an excellent temperament ,they have
wonderful and great personalities, exceptional champion bloodlines.
They are close ringed, closed bonded. They are kennel club registered,
tested and proven .Their nails are well trimmed . They have
crate equivalent toys ,a free bag of an organic
feed and food menu with other accessories .They are fast learners
,like playing ,full of fun and very sensitive. They are ready for
their new home and going out for an adoption,
they have adapted to the following:
-They eat 2 to 3 times daily and have adapted to that.
-They take to order like when you ask them to lie down.
We are giving them for adoption because we are being moved to lots of
different places due to the nature of our job which also requires a
lot of time. We realized they are going to be lonely and as you know
they are very delicate creatures and need a lot of care and devotion
and that is why we are looking and have decided to give them out to a
loving and caring home where they will be loved, cared for and will be
given all the time and attention that they need, maintained and brought
up, they will meet up with any requirements if need be. we are located

Do you have any puppy presently? What breed, Small Description?
-Are you taking both puppies? If not male or female.
-Do you have a large yard that they can play?
You will be paying but the transportation fee to your home.We shall
be waiting to hear from you soon so that we can proceed with all

All we need for these lovely babies is love and care and if
you are willing to take very good care of these cute babies we will
let you have it OK.All you need to do is pay for the delivery fees
which is $250 for each of the puppies and $500 for both puppies so if
you are interested ,we will need your full delivery address so that we
can get these babies registered and delivered to you get back
with these information’s.
-your full names
-house address
-contact number
-nearest airport to your home

with this address we will get these babies registered and delivered
to you and we hope you will take very good care of these babies as
part of your family.We will be shipping them from Honolulu
International Airport .We shall be using a reliable delivery agency
which offers home delivery services so the puppies will be delivered
at your door steps.They also have well trained vet specialist that
will take proper care of pets during flight.The shipping fee will be
paid directly to the shipping company.
Waiting to hear from you


Attached were about 10 more pictures of “Lola” and “Ricky” — these were like puppy models…taken with a backdrop. Here are a couple more examples:

ricky4 lola5

I highlighted the red flags! It’s a shame the stunts people will pull to try to make a quick buck! I sent the following reply:

I already adopted a pup from a local shelter.
Why are you posting in a St. Louis newspaper if you live in Hawaii? Sounds fishy to me!

That was the last I heard from Will Anthony!
Until this morning…I got an identical reply from “Simson Hubber”. Same pups, same name, from Hawaii.

I’m not even going to reply this time, but I will be reporting this abuse / scam!
Buyers beware!

As I made reference to above, we did adopt the cutest border collie / boxer mix from the humane society. We pick him up next week, but here is a picture of Otis:


What about you? Have you seen this online scam before? What precautions to you take to stay safe shopping online?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dennis Martin May 3, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Great Heads Up Story, as I see a lot of this stuff on craigslist, and other classified sites.
There are numerous red flags to be aware of, but some that stands out are mis-spelling,
asking for pre-payment, and asking for personal information. This sort of thing is a huge
worldwide problem, much bigger than we can imagine, in many different varieties. The old
caveat…Buyer Beware…Is very True.

2 Lore August 25, 2011 at 5:55 pm

I had the same experience in my area, we were looking for English Bulldog pups. I emailed the seller, they responded and said they were ENGLAND. ???? All they would charge is $300 that was for the shipping and the pup.

3 PF Journey March 3, 2011 at 1:19 pm


Your probably right about the auto-responder.
I thought the whole scam was pitiful, but then I thought, these things work because someone falls for them….even if it is 1 person out of 1,000.

4 Denice March 3, 2011 at 11:20 am

Your new family member is so cute …. Congrats!!!Otis Fane
and yes it is really amazing to me how people have nothing better to do then to try and scam someone …. i have gotten several in my day i think the duplicate ones must go out on a auto responder.

5 PF Journey March 3, 2011 at 9:28 am

Hey Pete! We came very close to getting a Shi-Tzu but that deal fell through. I can’t wait to get Otis home! Gathering supplies now. I think I’m going to have to start a monthly puppy expense tracker

6 Pete March 3, 2011 at 9:10 am

Lakita, looks like a precious little pup! We had a border collie for about 10 years that we adopted from the humane society. He was the kindest most affectionate dog I’ve ever seen. So you can’t go wrong with the border collie side of the pup, and I’m sure the Boxer in him will be great as well. We’ve now got a 6 year old Shi-Tzu that we love to death – although she’s been getting less attention since our Son was born!

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