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Puppy Giveaway Advance Fee Scam

Outline
Email claims that a church worker based in Africa is looking for someone to adopt his English Bulldog and Yorkshire Terrier pups for free because he can no longer care for them properly.




Brief Analysis
The message is a scam designed to trick recipients into sending money and personal information to Internet criminals.

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Last updated: November 2, 2012
First published: December 14, 2007
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Examples
Subject: FROM REV. MARTINS

Hello Dear

I am Rev. Father Martins and I am pleased to inform you that I have an English Bulldog Puppy whose name is Smart. This Bulldog Puppy was given to me as a gift by a German Rev. Father when he came to visit me in my Parish in London. By the will of God, I am now in Africa a few days ago in continuation of my Missionary work.

I don't know you in person but I have all the trust that you can take good care of this puppy. The reason I want you to take care of this Puppy is due sto my Missionary work. I cannot be available to take good care of it. I want you to adopt it.

The Puppy will be sent to you through shipping as soon as you agree to this responsibility. Please let me know immediately. Please send your reply to:
martinsluke01@gmail.com

May God Almighty bless you.
Yours Rev. Father Luke Martins.


Subject: XMAS ENGLISH BULLDOG AND YORKSHIRE TERRIER FOR ADOPTION

Goodday,

I am Mr Will Patton and I am emailing regarding my English Bulldog and Yorkshire Terrier pups for adoption.

I live in San Diego CA in the USA , but right now I'm in West Africa for a missionary transfer from my church and I have the puppies right here with me... I am giving these pups away on adoption because of the bad weather condition and also there's no body to pay proper attention to the them while I'm busy in the church.

They are is in there perfect state of health, AKC registered an shots are given up to date, house and Potty Trained. They both loves toys and perfect with kids. All papers will accompany the puppies.

I am giving out the pups on adoption for free but you'll have to pay for the shipping of the pup to you.The pup(s) will be shipped to you via Express Delivery on next day after payment has been made by you to the shipping agent.

So if you are interested in adopting any of the pups, or both, Please get by to my by email.

Thank You.




Detailed Analysis
When designing new scam attempts, 419 scammers are able to dip into a deep pool of existing cover stories that have historically been very effective for reaping new victims. Some stories claim a dying widow needs help to distribute funds to charity or that the recipient has won a large sum in an international lottery. Others claim that a merchant, government official, or soldier needs help to transfer millions of dollars out of an overseas bank account. Still others claim that the recipient can stand in as the next of kin for a rich businessman who has died. In fact the variety of such cover stories is seemingly endless. And scammers are constantly coming up with new angles on the same base scam.

©iStockphoto.com/Pietro Romeo

Bulldog Puppy
A variation that is currently popular is one in which the scammer claims that he wishes to give away his pedigree puppies because he can no longer look after them properly. The scammer makes some excuse such as work commitments, ill health or unsuitable living conditions as to why he must give up his much loved pets.

An animal-lover who falls for this ruse and replies to the message will rapidly be drawn deeper into the scam. He or she will soon be asked to pay fees associated with delivery of the dogs to their new home. In the example included above, the scammer warns that the recipient will be expected to pay shipping fees for the animals. But the scammer promises that the dogs are fully registered and will arrive with all relevant papers. Given that some of these puppies are worth thousands of dollars from breeders, the victim may well think that paying only for shipping is a real bargain.

Alas, if a victim does send money for "shipping fees", it will simply be kept by the scammers rather than used for its intended purpose. The victim will never take delivery of the puppies because they do not actually exist. The puppies are a figment of the scammer's imagination and are nothing more than the bait used to entice a potential victim into replying to the initial scam email.

If a victim does send funds, he or she will probably be asked to send even more money, ostensibly to cover unexpected costs such as vet bills or government charges. Requests for further funds will likely continue until the victim finally realizes what is really happening or runs out of money. The scammer may also claim that he needs to verify the identity and reputation of his victim to ensure that he or she is a suitable owner for the animals. Thus, he will have a perfect excuse to ask his victim to provide a large amount of personal information that may be later used for identity theft.

At heart, these puppy adoption emails are just classic Nigerian scams dressed up a little with the addition of a new angle designed to appeal especially to animal-lovers - or perhaps to those who quite mistakenly believe that they can make a quick buck by getting hold of some expensive animals for just a few dollars down.

Last updated: November 2, 2012
First published: December 14, 2007
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer