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Monday, April 13, 2009

Take The Money And Run

Take the Money and Run, one of my favorite Steve Miller songs. Heck, I like most Steve Miller songs. But, this post is not about Steve Miller.

In January, I rescued a full blood dachshund from the local pound. She had all her shots, was spayed, and absolutely adorable. Was I looking to adopt a daschund? No. But, we were looking for a small dog to join our family. Lucy came home with us because she'd been in the pound here since November. The pound here is awful...the worst one I've ever seen. The conditions are repulsive and our "animal control officer" does not allow volunteers to work out there. He says he can handle it all himself. It's shameful! The place is dirty, smelly, and the poor animals get no socialization or human interaction at all. I paid for Lucy's city tag and got her out of there. My plan was not so much to keep her, but to find a daschund rescue to take her. I knew there had to be a no kill shelter or rescue somewhere and I just could not leave her there.

So, last week I realize that she is just not a good fit for our family. She hats the kids. She hates the cats. She hates the other dogs. She needs a family that can be an only dog household. I'm think a retired person or couple looking for a lap dog. She is yipping at me now because my computer chair does not let me have a good lap for her to sit on. Anyway, we call a few rescues and the closest no kill shelter and no one will take her. I decided to put an ad in the paper in an effort to find her a proper family. I prepared a whole bunch of questions, expect references, the who nine yards. She is a special girl and deserves a forever home.

The first call I get is a relay call, from a hearing impaired person. I'd never received a call like this before and getting through it was a challenge because it's very different from just talking on the phone. I finally get an email address and we start communicating that way. The man says he lives in Ohio and wants to have Lucy shipped to him. I replied back that there was no way she was going to a family that had never even seen her. At the time I was thinking "Aren't there daschunds in Ohio?" He replies back that he will pay me $100, double my asked for adoption fee, if I'd reserve her for him, plus he'd pay shipping costs. Via CHECK, written for over the amount of the adoption fee. Then I was to WESTERN UNION the difference to the "shipping company". I bet you could hear the alarm bells going of in my head. I did an IP check on his email. He was on the third floor of an office building in Nigeria. Lovely.

So, I started doing some research. It seems using the relay phone system for the hearing impaired is the new way these scammers operate. They can call you and you have no clue they are from another country. The poor relay operators have to take the calls and do their job because they have no way of knowing who is legit and who isn't. It seems the puppy scam is one of many similar scams. I am so thankful I realized what was going on really quickly, but I wonder how many hundreds of folks fall for this. I would have been sent a check for say $500, taken to the bank & cashed it, them wired the $400 to the "shipping company". Then the check would bounce because it's a fake, I'm out a lot of money, and the crooks have taken the money and run! Apparently, these types of scams take a lot of people everyday. Worse yet, it doesn't seem that US law enforcement can do anything about it! All sorts of scams, especially work at home ones are on the rise it seems. I guess so many people are looking for extra income during this economic down turn, that they are sadly easy prey for crooks.

So, be on your toys y'all! I cannot believe how low these guys will stoop!
As for Lucy, the scam phone call is the only one we've received. I do not know what we are going to do, but we just cannot keep her. She's such a sweetie, but she needs a new family. Keep your fingers crossed that I can place her soon!