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Kitten Giveaway Scam

Reply to an online enquiry about free kittens claims that the sender is giving away two registered pedigree kittens and that the recipient need only pay for the shipping of the animals to adopt them.

Two siberian kittens on white background

© Dmitri Pravdjukov

Brief Analysis
The message is a scam. There are no kittens. Victims will be tricked into sending money to a scammer masquerading as the transport company hired to deliver the animals.

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Hello there,

Thanks for your interest in this lovely male and female babies i have for adoption. They are Eleven (11) weeks old. They are still available and ready to go ,They are cfa registered with all shots, vaccines and vet records updated. They are toilet train. They have been vaccinated and mirco chipped. They have great  personality and good temperaments with puppies and other pets. I also need you to assure us that you can take good care of this babies. I would like to ask you some few questions if you do not mind.
1) what are your names...?
2) what is your phone number so i could call if necessary...?
3) Do you have any experience with kittens?
4) Will you send us updates about him or her from time to time and pictures?
5) Where exactly are you located?

I am actually giving them out because i lost my wife and son in a crucial Car Accident, i don't have enough time taking good care of the puppies since i travel time to time. Due to my working condition i am presently in Cooktown, QLD,

I can arrange for delivery with a reliable delivery company if you can't pick them up. All you have to pay is the transportation fee for the kittens which will cost you $220 for one. If it's for the two kittens it will cost $440 for both. Regarding payment you shall pay the transportation fee directly to the Shipping company, that will be transporting the kittens. It will be a few hours flight and you shall receive the kittens. If everything is okay by you, get back to me with your full shipping information.

Your Full Name....
Zip Code........
House Address/Apartment #.......(For Home Delivery)
Land Line........?
Mobile Line........?
How many Kiitens do you want....

    As soon as i have all the above information from you, i shall haste any time suitable by you to the shipping company and book a reservation flight delivery to your home. The payments shall be made upfront to the Shipping company as soon as they contact's you. With this, you will be rest assured of where your money is going to, since you will be dealing directly with the Delivery Company. I have a little Experience in shipping pets, i actually shipped one last month, so be rest assured the kittens will be delivered safely.

I will be waiting to receive your data.

Detailed Analysis

According to this message, the sender is giving away two registered pedigree kittens because he no longer has enough time to care for them properly.  The message claims that all the potential new owner need do to adopt the kittens is pay for their shipping costs.

The message was sent to a person who responded to a post on a pet related website advertising the kitten giveaway.

However, the message is a scam. The sender does not have kittens to give away as claimed. And the story explaining why the kittens are supposedly being given away is pure fiction.

The goal of the scammers is to trick the recipient into paying an imaginary shipping company a fee for transportation of the kittens. If the victim agrees to adopt the kittens, the scammer will send a second message purporting to be from a shipping company representative. The message will request that the shipping fee be sent vire a wire transfer to the supposed shipping company representative.  Of course, the scammer and the shipping rep are one and the same and the scammer will pocket any fees sent. And the hapless victim will wait forlornly and fruitlessly for his kittens to arrive.

Moreover, in the pretence of ensuring that his imaginary kittens are going to a good home, the scammer may gather a large amount of personal information from the victim. This stolen information may later be used to steal the victim's identity.

The cover story used in this scam is one that has been regularly reused in different incarnations of the scam. This version claims that the kitten owner is based in Cooktown, Queensland. Other versions have claimed that the kittens were in Portland, Oregon.  

Variants of the same scam claim to be giving away other types of pets, including puppies and parrots.

Be very wary of any message that claims that expensive pets are being given away just for the price of shipping.

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Last updated: September 3, 2013
First published: September 3, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
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