Have you ever loseta pet?
I have. It’s the most disheartening, painful experience a pet lover can go through.
I had a 13 year old Chihuahua named Lucky.
He was your every day, most awesome-st chill old dog you can possibly imagine. As someone who lives in front of the computer, I have trouble keeping up with needs of a hyper dog. So Lucky was perfect. He’d eat, he’d walk, he’d poop, then he’d sleep for 4-6 hours non-stop. It was great.
Until the New Year’s day of 2011… the year began with a NIGHTMARE.
Did you know that New Year’s eve account for 99% of lost pets? Why? Yeap, fireworks.
Dogs have hearing power that’s exponentially more powerful than that of humans. In fact, they can hear EVERYTHING, and to them, firework explosion sounds like war. So what’s a dog to do? RUN!
In fact, Lucky, an 13 year old (equivalent of 98 in human years) 8-lb chihuahua that was pretty much deaf and blind, was so spooked by the fireworks that he managed to run, not 2 blocks.. not 6 bocks.. but 3 MILES at complete pitch darkness to avoid the sound altogether.
As distressful a time it is, I actually had people call me and try to take advantage of my situation. The nerve of these people!
If you are a pet lover, here are the top 5 scams that I’ve researched and found that seems to occur pretty often:
1) “I’m a pet detective”
Unless you have Ace Ventura knocking down at your door, this is equivalent to someone saying to you:
Sucker is born every minute… well, happy birthday.
I’m sure there are legitimate pet detectives that would actually do legitimate search work. Unfortunately, those people are so in demand that the odds of them reaching out to you (based on your little ad you put out on craigslist or what not) is slim to none. If they’re willing to work on performance basis (i.e. no pay if they don’t find your pet), then tell them “au revoir”.
2) “I’m a pet detective, and I work on performance basis”
OK.. this sounds great, right?
Wrong (most of the time).
Unless you live in a hole in the ground, I’m certain you’ve heard that the economy isn’t doing so great. In fact, some people are actually making money stealing pets. You would think that they steal YOUR pet and sell them to someone else right? Wrong. They sell the stolen pet right to the people they stole FROM! Why? Higher price and easier sale.
And what GREATER way to gain your trust and fooling you than by telling you that they’re pet detectives AND that they work on performance basis at the time of contact. OK sure, some are legitimate and perhaps they need the line of work. Besides the economy is tough. If that’s the case, check their credentials (license, bond, registration, etc.)
You wouldn’t hire a nanny without seeing her resume first right? Same applies here.
3) Someone outside the country contacting you about your lost pet
This is a classic craigslist scam. Someone read your ad on some website you posted, and they reply to you asking you to wire money in return for your pet’s safe return.
Something like this:
my name is pastor (mrs) janet mark. i am an animal vet and also one of the pastors of the christ embassy church. few days ago i saw your missing pet roaming about the street and i had to rescue it for keeps until i finally find the rightful owner so that i get give it back to him or her, but right now i am on evangelism work for soul redemption in benin republic in west africa, so because i dont want your pet to be alone at home in state i had to travel down here with it.
right now since i found you (the owner), i am honestly willing to return back your pet to you, but you have to proof some real facts that you are the real owner of the pet by sending any recent picture(s) of this loving and cute pet and you must also be able to tell me his or her name and the exact day and time that your pet had been missing. please you must also bear in mind that when you satify that you are the rel owner of thsis beautiful pet, all shipping and any other travelling expenses will be incured by you. one more thing, are you born again, co we are in the end time and you must be born again to be able to make heaven. god bless you as i hope to hear from you soon.
I won’t lie to you i stole this dog….and the reason why i stole is that ..i need help my mum is in Nigeria dieing of cancer ..and i decided to steal it and i know i will found the owner contact info ..so before i release it ..you are going to pay sum of $600…i swear this dogt is with me
If you want have him back today….you will have to send the money to the doctor in Nigeria and you will have to go and send the money through via western union money transfer to this name and address below:
Name: Abiodun Sulaimon Olayemi
And get back to me with the info given to you ..as soon as i confirmed that you have sent out the money ..i will tell you were to go and pick up the dog so get back to me with your phone number ..and when you get to western union ..don’t tell i have your dog with me..so that they can allow you to send the money..tell them you are sending the money to your cousin in Nigeria..okay..and i am not going to hurt your dog..till you get back..from the bank.
No no no..
Think about it. Why would ANYONE want to go through the trouble if asking you to wire money outside of the country, verifying it, then sending you the money? International wire verification isn’t something most financial institutions won’t do unless you go through hoops and hurdles, including verification in PERSON… which means the person would have to spend all his ransom money on a plane ticket!
4) “I found your pet, but I need the money to ship it back to you.”
Usually, someone “far” away has magically found your pet somehow. They contact you because they found your pet but don’t have the time or resources to get to you.. and you are too busy to get to them.
Solution? Wire me the money and i’ll ship it to you. What do you get if you do wire them the money? You get a nice fat heartache. That’s it. The odds of your pet getting lost and ending up more than a couple of miles away is highly unlikely to happen (Ok, except for this ONE time where this one lost dog was found 3000 miles away. But that’s a fluke.)
1. Despite this “gloom and doom” talk, most of the people in this world ARE good and are NOT trying to rip you off.
99% of the times, most people will just call you (if you have a phone listed on your lost pet flyer/ad) and just give you back your lost pet in person. NO wire transfers.. no Nigeria.. none of that.
2. When in doubt, ask them to meet you in person.
The internet is the world of anonymity, where you can make up a name and an email address any time you wish. So if you ARE suspicious, ask for their real identity, including name, address, and a phone number.
Last but not least, don’t give up. Have faith and keep asking, keep posting flyers ads, and you too can be reunited with your beloved pet.