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Don't Get Scammed When Adopting/Buying a New Pet - Geek Turned Athlete

Don’t Get Scammed When Adopting/Buying a New Pet

Since the hubs and I moved back to the states a few months ago, we have really wanted to adopt a dog, a Weimaraner in particular. These dogs fit our lifestyle for so many reasons that I won’t go into all of them now, but a few of the reasons that I like them are that they are big, intimidating, and very territorial. If someone breaks into my house, I want my dog to do more than just bark and actually do some damage. If the size alone doesn’t scare him away, the deep bark might, and if that doesn’t work, a 95 pound dog running after them and actually biting them should. These are not violent dogs, but when they see that their owner is in harm, they are very protective.

Anyway, the last dog that we had was a rescue Weimaraner, and it was a wonderful dog. It died of old age last year unfortunately. I started looking online for weims in our local shelters recently. No luck there with what we were looking for. So, then the search expanded to the internet classifieds. I found one this Saturday, and I was very excited as the price was far below what full blooded weims are sold for (Red Flag #1). This was the ad that I found on

Screen shot 2010-09-15 at 6.34.46 AM.png

I clicked on the “read more,” and this add in the Yakima,WA times came up:

Screen shot 2010-09-15 at 6.34.29 AM.png

I quickly emailed this off:


Hello, we found your add for weim puppies on petstew. Do you still have any pups available? We are living in spokane now, and we are a fan of the breed. 😉



Then, I got this answer back:


thanks for your interest in adopting my puppies they are one male and two female

(Chris,Nina and sally ) 12weeks old updated in all their shots, vet checked AKC register

and also good with kids they love to give kisses and also like playing in the gardens before

I proceed I will like to ask you some questions

-Are you a breeder?

-Do you have kids?

-Are use to puppies?

-Are you sure that you are going to take care of any of my babies?

-Gift me a Brief Description about your Environment?

-Do you have a vet doctor?

-Were exactly are you located?

-Can I have your phone number to reach you?

As you have already seen in the ad, i am giving out them for

adoption since they were owned and taken care of by my wife who

has now got a very busy job couple of weeks ago in Somerset Kentucky KY 42501. As a result, we have relocated to Somerset Kentucky KY 42501 due the mobile nature of my job and right now we can’t take proper care of the puppies which was been taken care of by my wife who has just got a job in Somerset Kentucky KY 42501.My greatest desire is to find someone who can properly take care of the puppies and if you can, i can arrange for delivery if you cannot come right up here for the pick. Delivery am sure will be moderate since we spent just just too little bringing the puppies up here.If this is ok by you, i will immediately need the

following details

your full name?

your house address?

your post/zip code?

mobile and land line number?

your email address?

in order to drop off the puppies as soon as possible at the delivery agency so that delivery can be done to your home Be reminded that these puppies are for free since puppies are like children and not meant to be sold and all you will have to do is to pay for the shipping fee which is $250 for one puppy including delivery and $500 for two puppies this money will be paid directly to the delivery agency company which will deliver the puppies to your home. My prayer is that you love and care for these puppies just as my wife and i did and we will be always grateful with you if you should.Do let me know i live at SOMERSET KY soon as you get

back to me i will send you more picks the puppies will come with.

Vet Checked

1st Vaccination,


AKC registered

Pedigree PAPERS

Worming to date
Flea Treatment

Insured for 6 weeks

Puppy pack:

Wet food

Dry food



and training aides

Puppy booklet

Shady huh? I thought so, but Steve was like, “Well maybe he was drunk when he was replying?” I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Here is my reply:

Okay, well we would be interested in adopting a boy and a girl.

No, we are not breeders. We are just normal people looking for two high energy dogs to fit our lifestyle. We are both triathletes and runners so we are very active. We had a weim for 11 years, and sadly he passed away last year. No kids, but we are very patient people who are completely aware of the huge job it is taking care of puppies. We have a house on the south hill in Spokane, WA with a moderate sized yard. Considering we both are frequently going out for 5-20 mile runs, these dogs will have LOTS of exercise. Yes, we have a pet hospital just up the street from us.

Our mobile number is xxx-xxx-xxxx. Because we are very leery of being scammed, it you wouldn’t mind sending a picture of the puppies with my name in the background written on a piece of paper, that would be great. What shipping company are you planning on using?

Thank you, and we look forward to hearing from you soon,


And his response including random pics with none that I asked for with my name in them:


since i am located in Kentucky KY and you are far way from me so we are to use a pets shipping company to get the puppy ship over to your home. and you are going to pay $250 for one puppy including shipping to the shipping company before they can proceed shipping of the puppy to your house so if that is OK by you then i will need your full shipping details in other to register the puppy at the shipping company. OK these are the details i will need from you now

Full Names

post code


House Address

Mobile and Land Line Numbers

so these are the details i will need to change the owner ship papers from my names to your names then register the puppy for a home delivery to your home OK the puppies will be shipped from Kentucky KY to your location they will be coming with Leaving

home,Vet Checked,1st Vaccination, AKC registered Pedigree ,Worming to date, Flea

Treatment, Insured for 6 weeks ,Puppy pack: Wet food, Dry food Treats, Toy sand

training aides, Puppy booklet .the delivery is going to take about 8-9hours time depending on how fast you make the payment and also she does not bark a lot, she only barks when she sees a stranger:if you will like the both puppies the delivery fee will

be $500.yes i will cover the vet check and shots.i am given them our because we are very very busy due to the nature of our job,and we don’t want them to stay alone at home that is why we are looking to give the puppy out for a pets lover.i will be using the


Thanks Waiting….

That website:

It’s a hoax. It looks semi-legit, but not really.

Then, I got this in my email (sorry a lot of it was cut off):

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Screen shot 2010-09-15 at 12.44.08 PM.png
Screen shot 2010-09-15 at 12.44.20 PM.pngScreen shot 2010-09-15 at 1.39.36 PM.png

Did you notice that the people are completely different than who I was supposedly conversing with via email?

Screen shot 2010-09-15 at 12.55.27 PM.png

Screen shot 2010-09-15 at 12.47.17 PM.png
Screen shot 2010-09-15 at 12.47.32 PM.png

Not long after I got this email, an individual called me who had a thick (I think African) accent (please don’t send me anti-discrimination emails, 1/2 my family has a thick latin accent). He said that he was from the shipping company and wanted to make sure I knew where an Western Union was. I told him that I wasn’t interested anymore and hung up the phone. I was pissed, but what good was me yelling at him over the phone? He was a poor excuse for a human being for doing this to honest people, and one person (the person he was trying to scam) probably wasn’t going to make a difference.

The scary thing is: this whole thing is a scam. Thank goodness, we didn’t fall for it, and I don’t want any of you to either. That is why I’m posting this on my website. I don’t know what else to do other than posting this info on fraud watch forums, and writing about it on my blog. I really HATE people that prey on others’ good intentions. I wanted new dogs really badly, and I made excuses for the bad vibes that I was feeling (and that my husband was also probably feeling).

Never ignore your bad vibes! We get them for a reason!!

According to if you do want to purchase or adopt a pet online, here are some ways to protect yourself:

Screen shot 2010-09-15 at 1.08.19 PM.png

I’m so angry over this. Even though I didn’t lose any money, I feel violated. I really hope these scammers burn in hell (if there is one). And the piece of S^&* guy stole pictures of other legit weims to use as his own.  If this was even a guy, I have no idea.

Have any of you been scammed? Or have been close?

{ 28 comments… add one }
  • Michelle September 15, 2010, 1:33 pm

    Oh wow. That is horrendous. Terrible. Eek.

    Have you tried They have a lot of rescue groups posted there, and it is a great organization to find a rescue pup. Good luck in your search and thanks for posting this scam info.

    ugh, the audacity of people.

    • Nicole September 15, 2010, 1:45 pm

      I did try them with no luck with what we wanted. They do seem great though! We ended finding a great breeder on Sunday. We will pick up our new “baby” in 4 weeks. He is only 3 weeks old now. 🙂

  • Jessica @ How Sweet September 15, 2010, 1:34 pm

    Wow, this is SO scary. I am so glad you guys didn’t fall for this!

  • genesis September 15, 2010, 1:39 pm

    i was fresh out of high school, newbie freshman and some cold caller calls offering me a scholarship. i was a poor student and needed the money. all he needed was mailing info and bank routing number. i figured that wasnt much information so i gave it and then when i told my cousins what i did, they freaked out and made me change banks and everything and when we did some research after that, it was a total scam.

    we almost got scammed once for a cellphone. I actually went through western union and already wired the money but thank god my senses came back 5 minutes later because I was like WTF are you doing Gen?! So i googled stuff and my fears were confirmed. called WU immediately and the lady was pissed. She gave me this whole monologue about how i should do my research first and blah blah blah, but I didnt get mad because I totally deserved it. she said had I waited the following day to call western union, i could have kissed my money good bye! and scarier was the guy in russia (or wherever it was) had my phone number so he kept calling me and stuff and when I finally said I was going to call the cops he stopped.

    believe me ive learned my lesson when it comes to internet shopping and answering ads. never again! im so glad you didnt lose any money over this.

  • Erica September 15, 2010, 1:40 pm

    I ALWAYS warn people of these type of deals when they ask me about Frank & bulldogs. Since bulldogs are somewhat pricey, people often look for a deal and end up with something similar to the above. Glad you all didn’t fall for it! How scary

  • Jessica September 15, 2010, 1:42 pm

    Oh how creepy! Thankfully you guys didn’t fall for it!!

  • Kim September 15, 2010, 1:48 pm

    I’m so glad you didn’t fall for it!! You can file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center:

    You can also email your story to, who will post it on, a great consumer website. They often feature stories like this one.\

    These types of scams are pretty common for laptops and cameras and electronics. What annoys me is that they’re doing it with cute puppies!!! 🙁

  • Zoe September 15, 2010, 1:58 pm

    That is TERRIBLE! The first thing I noticed was “Western Union” and the Country was Cameroon. WTH??? Addy, WA my butt. How horrible.

    My Dad was a victim, and even though all six of us kids tried to warn him that it was a scam, he still went with it and lost $600. It’s so completely awful.

    Good for you for not falling for that crap! I hope you find your Weims soon! They are such fun dogs.

  • Suzanne September 15, 2010, 2:12 pm

    This makes me so angry! I’ve volunteered with dog rescues for almost 10 years. There are so many dogs out there that need a good home and creeps like this are trying to scam good, honest people like you guys who just want to have adopt a pet. UGH!

    I am glad that you’ve found a new addition and I can’t wait to read posts about his arrival!

  • Julie Grice September 15, 2010, 2:15 pm

    I like that they said they were in WA, then KY, then Cameroon… and changed their name/gender throughout the process. And by “like,” I mean “hooray they made it really easy for you to realize this was a scam before you sent them any money”!

    I like your idea of asking them to send a picture of the puppies while holding a piece of paper with your name on it… just in case they did steal the puppy pictures (which they obviously did).

    So glad you found a different place to adopt (I think, from what I gathered on twitter?) and will have puppies soon! We are still trying to decide whether or not we are ready to take on the responsibilities of a dog, but when we do, we’ll be sure to not fall for a scam like this!

  • Sana September 15, 2010, 2:30 pm

    Sigh, I always worry about elderly people that get scammed. It breaks my heart.

  • Melodie September 15, 2010, 3:47 pm

    Yes! Definitely a scam! I worked at our local newspaper when I was younger and we had a scammer placing English Bull Dog ads… same wording as you have on your blog today! It is so ridiculous! We had a few customers that actually bought it though and were out quite a bit of money :/

  • Cara September 15, 2010, 3:51 pm

    Boo so sorry about the scammers. I hope you find the pup you want soon without creepy scams attached.

  • Alexa@Living La Vida Pura September 15, 2010, 4:05 pm

    I’ve seen the exact same scam except with housing (the boyf and I are trying to find a house to move into). We’ll find a post on something like Craigslist that looks good, maybe even a little too good to be true, we pounce on it, and we get a lengthy email in the same style as the first one you got – bizarre, rambling, poor English, asking a ton of questions and, weirdest of all, saying something along the lines of “I’m going on a voyage in africa.” So it’s not just in the puppy-sale realm that this is happening.

  • pen September 15, 2010, 4:33 pm

    Eek! So glad you guys didn’t get scammed! And, even more, can’t wait to see pics of your new babies when you find some (legit) puppies!

  • Di September 15, 2010, 9:26 pm

    Yep shady people out there esp online!!!

    Try petfinder for dogs, or your local shelter.

  • Sarah for Real September 16, 2010, 9:24 am

    I got scammed online once. It was early one morning when I checked my email and saw something that looked like it was from my bank asking me to verify my account or something. You click on the link and it sends you to a site that looks exactly like your bank and give them all sorts of info about your debit card…

    In my defense, this was when that scam was new and not so publicized and I was very very tired and not thinking clearly. Lucky my husband said, “maybe that wasn’t your bank” and the warning bells finally went off. I was able to get to my bank before anything happened. Come to find out they tried to use my visa in like, Oklahoma and Nigeria.

    p.s. I’m south hill too! Lincoln Heights-ish actually. We’re practically neighbors!

  • Joanna Burgraf September 16, 2010, 12:59 pm

    WOW! Thanks for sharing your experience so that others may learn from it. For the most part I am very weary of giving out any information, but these scams are getting trickier and trickier. Looking forward to seeing photos of your new pups!

  • Republic Monetary Exchange September 16, 2010, 4:15 pm

    That’s awful! So sorry for you but glad that you found a local breeder. We went with a local breeder and were so happy with our beagle – loud bark, no bite, totally cute!

  • Republic Monetary September 16, 2010, 4:15 pm

    What an outrage – so sorry for you but glad it worked out in the end. We went with a local breeder for our beagle and have been so happy!

  • Caitlin September 16, 2010, 7:24 pm

    Wow. I read so often about scams going on but I never thought buying a puppy would be one of them. I’m glad you guys were smart enough not to fall for this. I tend to be too trusting and fear someday it’s going to catch up to me. Thanks so much for sharing, Nicole!

  • Cathy September 19, 2010, 12:27 am

    I was almost scammed by this same thing. I was so blinded by wanting to get one of the dogs because mine recently died that I wasn’t thinking clearly.
    What finally got my attention was the shipping company in Cameroon and then I did some research and found your page about the scam.
    Thank you so much for putting it out there for people because sometimes with the loss of a loved pet we lose site of what could possibly be happening to us in search of another pet to love.
    Thank you

    • Nicole September 19, 2010, 8:45 am

      I’m glad this helped! We were blinded by wanting a dog so badly at first as well that we ignored our bad vibes! I hope you can find an honest breeder!

  • Alisha October 1, 2010, 7:14 am

    so we alomost got scammed as well same email back to looks exactly like the one above… luckly we did not buy them i researched and found this site.. im glad that i found this site. it helped me by not making the wrong decision!

  • april rankin October 13, 2010, 1:21 pm

    I am so glad that you posted this, I was on my way to the western union to pay these people for a female yorkie . I had saw there ad through a pet finding services , I new it was to good to be true. Full breed yorkies cost from 500 to over a 1000 dollars they were offering me this puppy free just pay the shipping cost but i notice that the money was going to cameroon and not oregan, and they kept calling me saying that i needed to hurry up and send the money to get the puppy today . Thank you for saving me money my husband would have been pissed.

  • Nathaniel McDowall October 15, 2010, 5:44 am

    Hi i am 28 years old and recently lost by baby girl, and felt lost with out her. I started seaching online for another dog and came across a website that helped find dogs for owners and came across a deal that seemed to good to be ture. And my heart over ruled my head untill 30 mins ago when i go a emailing me telling me that i had to pay £500 via transfer. Put the web site in to google, and your website came up thank you so much for putting your story on here other wise my heart would have over ruled my head and i would have lost alot of money. Many thanks Nathaniel

  • Allie March 18, 2011, 11:27 am

    I also got sucked into a similar scam with someone who said they were in Bedfordshire but then had to move to the Isle of man and they wanted £250 for the courier service and it would be delivered the next day. I told him I wasn’t willing to buy it unless I could see it face to face and asked if he was coming into mainland anytime soon but he didn’t reply. It was for a Boykin Spaniel. WATCH OUT!


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