Thursday, September 20, 2007
A Nigerian “free puppy” scam has been circling the internet for months without any reports on television or on the radio. Just yesterday the Toronto Star reported about a Mississauga, Ontario, Canada woman, on September 10, who was scammed by a Nigerian man (Paul) claiming to be a Christian missionary who could no longer take care of his puppy.
In April, the CBC reported that the Toronto Humane Society issued a warning for residents to watch out for the new scam, and to not respond to them. Humane Society communications officer Lee Oliver told the CBC that the only contact method, for an ad about a “free” puppy published in a newspaper, was email. After he emailed the person he received an email response in broken English saying the customer would have to pay $500.
According to the women the advertisements are published in newspapers, such as free Toronto daily newspaper 24, and online. She saw the ad at Livedeal.com, a website which warns about making foreign purchases, and proceeded to email the person in Nigeria who was offering a “free” female Yorkshire Terrier pup. The ad called “GORGEOUS YORKSHIRE TERRIER FOR FREE GRAB HER NOW!!!” had a picture of a “Yorkie” in a white basket.
The seller of the puppy asked the women over the phone to pay $200 for the shipping fee, the next day he asked for $250 to put the dog in a crate, and again the next day $50 for ownership. He did not tell her it would amount to $500. On the third day he asked for $100 for a shot for his puppy. She immediately contacted authorities.
“Are you trying to call me a scam? I’m a family man,” he said. “I am a man of God. I am a missionary,” Paul told a reporter for the Toronto Star.
“Me and my family don’t have enough time for baby … I want a good Christian home for my baby … I love this baby,” he said. “Why all these questions? Why are you accusing?”
According to Oliver, a nearby Toronto resident also responded to the scam.
Warnings have not only been issued in Canada but also in the Cayman Islands. The United States also has many citizens that are victims of the scam.