Puppy and Dog-Selling Scams — On Saturday, January 29, we heard from a woman who had been very excited to buy a German Shepherd puppy. In her online search, she found a website called germanshepherdpuppiesforsale.company.com and liked the photos she saw. She reached out to the owner via the email posted on the website and received a response that strongly suggested a warm, loving and thoughtful breeder….
On Fri, Jan 28, 2022 at 1:05 PM Germanshepherd Puppiesforsale <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Welcome to https://germanshepherdpuppiesforsale.company.com, I am writing with regards to your interest in giving a home to one of our puppies. Our puppies are all purebred pups, one of the best dog breeds and a good companion. They are so intelligent, courageous, extremely lively, proud and adventurous, they enjoy affection. They are raised in our home and have been around kids and other home pets. They are up to date on all shots and vaccines and will come along with Their documents including a health guarantee, playing toys and nutritional manual.
Our prices depend on the exact puppy you want.
We accept visits on weekends and we also offer shipping and delivery services at our clients convenience for clients who can’t make it here to get a puppy they are interested in. Our services are 100% reliable and we guarantee client satisfaction at all times.
All puppies purchased from us come with the following;
– Lifetime Satisfaction Guarantees
-Health Screenings & DNA tests.
– Health Certificate.
– Age appropriate shots.
– Food Menu.
– Play toys and treats.
– Blanket, collar and leash.
-A Personal Letter With Your Best Wishes.
Before we proceed, We are not selling these puppies for profit but for the love of the breed and we will want to ensure our dogs are going to loving and caring homes. For that reason I will appreciate it if you could answer a few questions.
1) Have you had a puppy before?
2) Are you a breeder?
3) Do you have any veterinarian around your location?
4) If the puppies destroy something worth $ 100 what will be your reaction?
5) Any experience with a puppy?
6) What is the name of the exact puppy you want?
7) where are you located?
With this information, we will know if your home suits our puppies. Feel free to ask any questions regarding the puppies so we get back to you with more details.
Get back to us so we can advise you on the next step you will take to have the baby home.
Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you soon
Over the course of a few hours, the woman settled on a German Shepherd puppy, after seeing photos on the website, and sent in a payment of $500 through Zelle for the puppy and an additional $150 for the shipping expenses. However, the very next day, January 29th, the woman received this email below from “American Pet Courrier” informing her that her puppy was stuck in Denver and that she needed to pay another $1,250 for a “thermal crate.” She thought the reason for the additional charge was very suspicious and called the Denver airport. She discovered that the “courier” was not even registered at this airport. Furthermore, the authorities at the Denver airport told her that this was very likely a scam. The woman immediately reached out to Zelle and Wells Fargo Bank to inquire about recovering her $650 since this was fraud. (We are still waiting to hear back to see if she can recover her money.)
On Sat, Jan 29, 2022 at 11:11 AM AMERICAN PET COURRIER <email@example.com> wrote:
Tracking # WPC050826635317
Address : [ADDRESS REDACTED]
Website : https://www.americanpetstrip.com/track-form/
Accept warm greetings from the Entire AMERICAN PETS TRIP Animal Transport Department , We wish to inform you that, your GERMAN SHEPHERD PUPPY has arrived DENVER International (KDEN) Airport on Transit.The Puppy has now been checked at the ANIMALS WELFARE quarantine Department and all the registration papers, health certificates and passport are correct. But it shows that your puppy is just 9 weeks old and the ANIMAL WELFARE policy states any puppy below 14 weeks will need an Electronic Thermal Crate for the safe delivery of the puppy during this winter period in the USA.
Due to the regulations we now have, you are required to Rent or Purchase an (Electronic Covid 19 Thermal Crate) to have your puppy delivered during this winter period.
Reasons for a change of Crate !!
1: The Delivery crate of the puppy has to be changed from a Ventilated Crate to an Electronic Thermal Crate. The ventilated crate does not contain potty pet space for water bowl and food cane or sanitized spits during this winter period.
2: The Ventilated crate is too small for the relaxation of the puppy on the flight. Due to the above reasons, the crate has to be changed from a Ventilated Crate to an Electronic Thermal Crate.
3: We are experiencing an unfavorable weather condition and transporting the puppy in the Ventilated crate will be detrimental to the health of your pet as places are very cold.
4: We need an Electronic Thermal Crate during this period of shipping because it has a TEMPERATURE REGULATOR which will be regulated according to your puppy’s body temperament thereby maintaining a constant body temperature.
Below are some of the available crates for rent .
Thermal Electronic crate 0150 PD————-$1250.00
Thermal Electronic crate 088 PD ————$1100.00
Thermal Electronic crate 024 PD ————-$1570.00
We do not sell the crate to our customers but we offer them for a hire or rental terms to safeguards your puppies on flight. The money paid for the rental of the crate will be 98.5% REFUNDABLE to you by the delivery personnel at your Airport. Since your sender used a Ventilated crate,our agent will come along with it to swap it for the Electronic Thermal Crate that you rented from us . We request that you make a choice from the above list of crates and choose the type of crate you will like your puppy to travel in, for its own safety.
BUT DUE TO THE TEMPERAMENT OF YOUR PUPPY, WE ADVICE THAT YOU USE THE
Thermal Electronic crate 0150 PD——–$1250.00
Please respond to this email to get this resolved as soon as possible so your puppy leaves with the next scheduled flight.
American Pets Trip
Based on this woman’s experiences, we did some digging and visited germanshepherdpuppiesforsale.company.com. We saw many red flags that strongly suggested this website is fraudulent. We tried to report this website as fraudulent to “Company.com,” the service who is hosting it but cannot find ANYWHERE on their site to report abuse! This is rather odd and doesn’t speak well of the business called Company.com!
We were curious to learn if there were other websites hosted on Company.com that might be fraudulent and used our search skills to explore the company.com website. Sadly, we found SIX other suspicious or fraudulent websites that were nearly IDENTICAL to the German Shepherd site, but about other dog breeds. They are:
(Notice the typo for “Bostom” in the link)
Now we were on high alert! We started doing reverse image searches and searches for the testimonials or descriptions we found on these websites and these searches led us to several more very suspicious websites, including this WordPress site selling bulldogs: https://rockfieldamericanbullies.wordpress.com/ We discovered that this WordPress website appears to have copied LOTS of comments from a legitimate website called https://www.topdogbullies.com/for-sale.php. Our search also led us to several Facebook pages that used identical text found on the fraudulent Company.com dog selling pages. The details found on these Facebook pages were HIGHLY SUSPICIOUS because some of it is identical to content found on the fraudulent sites. Also, each of these many suspicious sites contained LONG LISTS of phrases and words that were clearly meant to get the attention of search engines and Twitter feeds. The creator of these sites knows how to maximize their exposure online when people are looking for puppies/dogs to buy or adopt!
And let’s not forget about the last step of this scam that targeted the woman for ANOTHER $1250 to ship her new German Shepherd puppy! Remember, she didn’t receive an email from the person from whom she purchased the dog. She received an email from someone at “American Pets Trip” (https://www.americanpetstrip.com / firstname.lastname@example.org) who told her that her puppy was younger than had been reported and she needed to rent a heated crate at the Denver Airport. Their “About Us” page says that they have been in business since 1957! And yet, AmericanPetsTrip.com was registered anonymously less than a year ago in March, 2021. Also, on August 10, 2021, someone reported AmericanPetsTrip.com as a scam on Scampulse.com concerning the purchase of a 5 month old Dachshund puppy. Though the WHOIS tool and the Zulu URL Risk Analyzer could not accurately identify WHERE AmericanPetsTrip.com was being hosted, we discovered through IPLocation.net and DomainBigData.com that this “American” Pets Trip website is being hosted on a server in Bucharest, Romania. Some of the “positive” reviews found on AmericanPetsTrip.com are IDENTICAL to reviews on another pet transportation service which claims to have offices in Australia and Atlanta, Georgia called Aussie Pet Relocation. Aussie Pet Relocation claims to have been in business for 15 years and yet, a WHOIS shows that their website was only registered anonymously at the end of August, 2021 and is hosted on a server in India!
Sadly, all of these suspicious websites and various bread crumbs are just a drop in the bucket of fraud! Some of our searches led us to other types of scams and websites we haven’t yet had time to investigate! For example, the phone number listed on the scam website germanshepherdpuppiesforsale.company.com is 443-457-0728. We found that phone number associated with many fraudulent or suspicious dog-selling sites, AND a fake law firm website (that was half-completed) as well as a website claiming to sell marijuana and another website selling pinball games called pinballdirect.us which lists a warehouse address in Milton, North Carolina that DOES NOT EXIST according to Google! We have our work cut out for us and will eventually produce a feature article about this group of scammers. Until then, don’t buy a dog from any website UNLESS….
- You can video chat with the business owner and see LIVE video feed of your puppy, at least 2-3 different days/times to verify they are LIVE feeds
- You can get references from the business owner for people with whom you can video chat and see THEIR WONDERFUL DOG!
Caveat emptor! If you want to learn about many more of these bogus sites, visit our newly published feature article called Fake & Suspicious Dog Selling Websites where are our list of fake sites has grown to more than 17 as of February 7.
Scammers Pretend to Be a Government Agency – We’ve written several times about different types of extortion targeting victims online with sexual activity as the lure. Our colleague James Greening has just reported a new twist to this type of scam that has been targeting citizens of the UK via snail mail delivered to their homes! It’s very clever, and very sad, because it accuses the victim of viewing child pornography. Check out his article on Scamadviser.com called “Is DOJUK[.]legal a Scam or Legit?” Speaking of snail mail scams, check out the scam below received in the mail by a woman in Salem, Massachusetts (Yes, home of the Salem Witch Trials.)
Since we reported about the malicious clickbait disguised as a Who’s Who nomination in our February 2 newsletter, we heard from several other readers who also reported getting variations of this malicious clickbait. Check out this version with links pointing to a malware-laden website called npoite[.]us. Yikes!
PayPal Unusual Activity and Payment Made – Very often we see phishing scams sent from free personal Gmail accounts, like this one from “jeffreysmbillingdepartment.” However, the subject line is hysterical! “Attn: We have noticed unusual activity in your PayPay account.” Paypay? It’s obvious that this is a typo and NOT the Japanese company called Paypay! Either way, you can be certain that NO ONE made a $1,280.98 charge to Home Depot against your PayPal account! Delete immediately, unless of course you wish to take pleasure in scamming the scammers. In that case, feel free to call 805-960-5367 and record the call for us!
Speaking of calling scammers, here’s another recently reported Paypal scam that claims you’ve just made a $755.49 purchase using your PayPal account. Refreshingly, they “hope you are doing great, its our pleasure to serve you as our registered customer.” Yeah, right! We’re sure they won’t be thrilled to hear you SCREAM into their ear by calling 877-566-6501. Imagine that! What if 50 of our readers were willing to call that number and scream expletives at the scammers and then hang up?! In the words of Arlo Guthrie from his famous song Alice’s Restaurant… “You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he’s really sick and they won’t take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony, they may think they’re both faggots and they won’t take either of them. And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people…” Calling a scammer’s phone number and screaming into his ear and then hanging up… “They may think it’s an Organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said Fifty people a day…” Calling a scammer’s phone number and screaming into his ear and then hanging up! “And friends they may thinks it’s a movement.”
And that’s what it is. It’s the Scream-at-a-Scammer Movement!
Reduce Your Tax Payments and US Veteran Discounts – As we’ve said in the past, Americans can expect an increase in tax-related scams. Here’s one that appears to have come from “US Tax Defense” through a crap domain called tcallypiy[.]cam. This malicious clickbait was created by the infamous Hyphen-Poopy gang, whom we believe operates in India. This gang uses software to auto-generate a link containing two random words hyphenated together. This scam’s joyous word combination is “grazing-malts.”
Unclaimed Reward – Call Now! – A woman who lives in Salem, Massachusetts received this exciting reward via snail mail into her mailbox. As she described it to us…
“I received a postcard in the mail in January. It stated an unclaimed reward. Our records indicate you have an unclaimed voucher for a Walmart or Target gift Card. Call this number to claim. I normally go on PCH and play games hoping I’ll win something. I’m not going to lie. So when I got the postcard I felt like my ship came in. I called. They went through a series of questions. I declined all offers. They said we just need your credit card number to charge you a shipping fee for a 100 gift card and a 50 dollar gift card for the restaurant of your choice. Scam! A $60 charge appeared on my credit card. I called the number back and they hung up on me! I don’t know why I didn’t hang up when they asked questions. Everything in my conscience told me it was a scam. I had to cancel my credit card. The charge was from a software company. Do not call these people! I should have known better.”
Scammers are clever so don’t be too hard on yourself if you get fooled. We’ve seen very smart and tech savvy people fall victim to scammers!
Need Extra Cash? And Safe Driver Discount! – We’re reaaaallllly sure that you want to claim money that comes your way from random, anonymous texts that land in your phone, right? Yeah, we didn’t think so. But we hope you get a good laugh at these recent offers that have popped into our phones! They both came from VERY SIMILAR phone numbers!
“ZipClickCash[.]com” is such a cute name but VERY LIKELY malicious clickbait or a phishing scam. That roll-off-your-tongue domain was registered anonymously in Iceland about a month before we got the text.
Another one of our readers just received this wonderful offer for a refund for her “safe driving” record! No company is mentioned in the text and the sender used the letter “o” instead of zeros for $500: 5oo. The link provided points to a crap domain called gt-pldreamy[.]biz. This dreamy domain was registered anonymously in Iceland only hours before the text was sent. Need we say more?
Until next week, surf safely!
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