12/3/2010 10:10:00 AM,
Two weeks ago I wrote a column about my beloved dog Rufus, who had just died of old age.
I felt bad. So I went onto the Internet to see if anyone had an Akita puppy for sale.
That's how I found out that most Internet puppy scams are run by heartless bastards in Cameroon.
But I didn't find out right away.
I just wanted to look at Akita puppies. I trolled the Internet looking at pictures, until I found one that hooked me.
Those Cameroonian bastards have all sorts of cute puppy pictures, of all sorts of breeds - I found out later.
The ads all say the same thing: They have males and females. They are moving, or they have a new job, or something, and they hate to lose their darling puppies, but ... well, let me quote from the ad from these Cameroonian bastards, who claimed to be from Miami:
"I cannot ask for money in exchange for the puppies because they are like family to me and it will not be right for me to receive money in exchange of them. I will be giving the puppies out for free adoption and all you need to do is take care of the shipping charges ($210 each) for them to reach your location."
All the ads for all the breeds end with these questions:
"What state are u located?
"Do you have children?
"Do you have other pets?
"Do you have a yard/room where the puppies can play?
"Will you send me monthly pictures of them to let me know how they are doing?"
Isn't that charming?
I printed out the photo and showed it to Jane, and she clutched at her heart and said, "Go! Bring puppy!"
My Cameroonian bastard, who called himself Morgan Reigh that day, instructed me to send him $210 by Moneygram. So I drove 17 miles to the Moneygram office.
The Moneygram form warned me not to send money to anyone I didn't know. Already, I thought it was a scam. But you should have seen that puppy. So I sent the money.
I drove home, convinced it was a scam. When I walked in the door, Jane said, "Robert, you're going to get your heart broken twice."
"It's not going to break my heart that it's a scam," I said.
The bastard had been calling every minute - that's not a figure of speech - asking about the $210. He sent 25 emails asking about the money. I have them all. The first one ended, "Thanks and remain blessed."
Isn't that nice?
The other ones ended, "Thanks and waiting."
I called the dude and said I could have someone pick up the puppy at his house in Miami. But - wouldn't you know it? - he had already taken the puppy to the delivery service, which would bring the puppy right to my house.
All he needed to know was the phone number I listed on the Moneygram, and the 8-digit security code. I emailed him my phone number.
Then I called Moneygram and learned that the guy didn't need the 8-digit security code to get the money - unless he was overseas.
So I canceled the order, and drove back to pick up the money.
The Cameroonian bastard kept bombarding us with emails, calling Jane every minute. She got him to tell her the name of the so-called puppy delivery service.
One minute on Google turned up a raft of angry letters about those guys.
The deal is, after you pay the first $210, the delivery service needs another $150 for shots. Then another $185 for a crate. And so on.
Jane ended the charade by sending the Cameroonian bastard an email telling him, "You mother would be ashamed of you."
And that's the last we heard from him.
I walked right into that scam, with money hanging out of my pockets.
I practically insisted that the guy rip me off.
I was just in the mood to be ripped off that day.
I would not have minded so much losing the $210. It's just money. But the thought of people making money that way pisses me off. Most of their victims will be children, or old people, or lonely people, or people like me who were sad about their old dog.
There is no solution for this. As this story indicates, I am not the guy to ask for advice about scams. But I'll give it to you anyway.
If you ever get into a mood where you wouldn't mind being ripped off, don't go out and do any business that day. Stay home.