Info about Pet Transport Scams

Anatomy of a Pet Transport Scam: You’ll find the adverts in a newspaper or on the internet. A valuable, pedigreed or exotic pet, it announces, needs a home so desperately that its available to you, free of charge. Whether a rare breed of dog, a monkey or macaw, it would be a tragedy to put down such a magnificent creature. The pet is yours as long as you pay for delivery; the pet transport company airfreight costs.

You dial the cell phone number, but no-one answers. Before long you get a call back from another cell phone number. Despite being a reputable pet transport company, no, unfortunately, they do not have landline number at present. Upon excitedly asking questions about your new pet, you are refereed to another cell phone number to speak to the animal breeder who assures you the animal is of the highest pedigree, or of the rarest nature and it would indeed be a tragedy to put it down. You offer to drive the long distance and collect the animal yourself and are talked out of your foolishness! The animal is so precious it must be transported correctly, under proper supervision. Of course, the airfreight cost is such a small price to pay for something so valuable, and despite the bank transfer details being a little strange, you pay.  And how wonderful! You receive the thank you email, reminding you what a loving and fantastic person you must be to save this animal, and attached are some heart warming pictures of ‘Pookie’ or ‘Pudgie’; your new pet.

A day or so later, however, the second e-mail arrives pointing out an unforeseen problem. The airline, it seems, simply will not send such a precious animal without the correct insurance. You hesitate and are told that a person from their company will be with the animal for the duration of the flight, overseeing their care. The CITES certificate is already filled out in your name. And additionally, you’re running out of time to save the animal at all. Sounding logical, you pay the additional sum of money to cover the ‘insurance charges’.

You’re given the relevant contact details of the agent of the pet transport company, and the exciting date of arrival. On that morning, you dial the number, feeling the warmth and happiness of your good deed, and anticipation about your gorgeous new pet.. to find that no-one has ever heard of you, or your pet. In fact, the pet never existed and you’ve just been scammed.

How do You Tell The Difference Between a Scam and an Animal in Need?  Only a company with long-term experience in the field will be able to catch out a scammer. Please note the following:

  • An exotic or pedigreed pet would never be put down – it is simply too valuable
  • People are not allowed in an airplane cargo hold
  • No animal transport company would dissuade you from collecting an animal yourself
  • It is neither legal nor possible to insure an animal for freight travel in South Africa
  • Pet transport companies know one another from years in the field and will know a fly-by-night name instantly, for example a fake company ‘Pet Flights’ scammed a lovely lady R8500 for two mythical puppies, sometime last year.
  • Reputable companies also know the genuine contact details of all the other real animal transportation companies. Pet Travel agencies’ websites are duplicated and logos used on emails, but with fake cell phone numbers as the contact point.
  • No established company will operate only through cell phones or use non standard banking practices such as using a Western Union bank account, or insist on an ABSA to ABSA transfer only, for example

Why are Pet Transport scammers successful? This scam relies on 6 things. First, the rush of emotion of an animal lover to save a threatened animal. Secondly, the sense of getting a bargain by paying so little for such a valuable pet. Third, with the insurance scam, when you’ve paid once its easier to pay a second time. Four, that unless you’ve transported pets already, you will not know the proper procedures, such as getting quotations, updates and having working hour access to your assigned agent on fax, email and landline telephone numbers. Five, that the pictures will keep you believing that the animal exists. Some concerned users simply refuse to believe that they are being scammed, because they saw the photographs. And finally, since the scammers operate on cell phones, there’s no way to trace them once they disappear with your money.

No one should be penalised for giving an animal in need a good home.  But unfortunately pet transport scammers are even more active these days than when they started 15 years ago. If buying a pet from a classified ad its essential that you find a way to cross-reference the information you have with a processional animal transport company. Be careful not to become another in a long line of very disappointed animal lovers, with a depleted bank balance.

Check out the Safety & Security section on the Junk Mail blog for more information about scams.

If you have been a victim of a Pet Transport Scam or if you encounter one on the Junk Mail website or in Junk Mail publications, E-mail us at ccc@junkmail.co.za or phone 012-3423840 x2295.

Henno Kruger

Digital Marketing Campaign Coordinator at Junk Mail Publishing.

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17 Responses

  1. Louise Brand says:

    Some one is jusing my ID nr and foto to scam people for pets like bird and dogs. I had no idee of the scam or the people now scam other people whith my name. I have not pets or animals to sell. Please be aware!

  2. I have responded to an ad regarding teacup yorkies. i had to reply by email only and just received a soppy heartbreaking story about two puppies as the wife past away and so on. Even assured me that the animals will be legally adopted by me. Yeah right….. just what you mentioned. This person/s does not even realize that animals need to be in quarantine. the scamer is Marina Matews and his email address is marinamatews@yahoo.com. I was told to pay 1600zar to the freight company and I just knew then it was a scam. I wish to warn all other readers regarding this particular scam.

  3. Trudie says:

    Hey there I was wondering the maybe this is also a scam. Same has happend to me This lady have all my details. And account number! She want me to pay R1500 for the puppies cage. And she will fly them this side to SA I don’t have to pay for the flight. And this is a week already and still waiting but i didn’t pay! “About 2 Yorkshire terriers” how do I konw that is a scam?

  4. geraldine coetzee says:

    Hi I was also been scamed by a so called Elizabeth Gertreida Pienaar. For 2 macaw’s named Beryl and Pat. She told me she is from Johannesburg but currently works in camaroon. She traveled along with her 2 bird but can not look after them anymore because of work. So she is giving them away for free but wants to send them back to SA as she will be back soon and wants to check up on the from time to time. So she arange everytime and communicates through email only. By the second day she needs your full names, adress and contact nr so the can book there flights and give all the info to the courriers. Then by the day they are supose to land her she sends a email telling there is a problem she is out of money paying for the bird courrier fees and now the courriers is asking a rental fee for the crate. So she send you a attached letter from the corriers explaining the storie of the crate and giving you options in 3 differant crates you can select from with diffarent prices. So by then I knew and I just left it there. Please people be awake and know identify the scam before it is to late.

    • Henno Kruger says:

      Thanks for sharing Geraldine 🙂

    • Mandy says:

      I have been playing this woman for days now only her name is Annemarie Von Tonder, gave the same long story, she works for Netcare in JHB and is doing Aid work in Cameroon and she can no longer look after Beryl and Pat, so I play the game all sympathetic and caring but she will not share any info on her babies their likes and dislikes feeding habbits even though she is sitting there crying at the thought of sending her babies away.
      The english os very good I have to admit, wen asked for Name, Contact No and address I quickly found a PP sim and fabricated an address and gave my maiden name and low and behold this morning I get the mail flight is paid for but no money for ventilated carriers and I will receive an email from the courier with my options, sure I replied no problem email ‘courier’ for banking details and got some BS story if I dep into company acc it will take days but if I dep into their cashiers SA bank account birds can fly today!!!! I have all details for whoeva is interested.

  5. Lyndie says:

    Hi Everyone. Please be careful, this person for the 2 Macow Birds is at it again. I almost fell for it. I am not getting the nessary information needed that I am wanting. I also just emailed a company in Cameroon for an information on the Agency they are using to send the birds on. Be careful out there.

  6. Glyndie says:

    Hi everyone.
    Does this sound like the same person that you were in contact with for the birds? Well I did some homework and called Net Care (there is no such person) and I mailed a pet place in cameroon area and they say no such place they have heard of. Be very very careful guys.

    Hi,

    Thanks for reading from you.I’m Rosemary from Johannesburg.I work in
    the Net Care Clinic in JHB, but currently in Yaounde,Cameroon for an
    international AIDS Project.I traveled along with my male and female
    Blue and Gold Macaw Parrots , but due to the nature of my work here I
    can’t really take care of them anymore, so I have decided to give them
    out for adoption and I’m only interested in adopting my birds only in
    SA where I could always pass by to check on them when I’m back in the
    country, or to someone who will promise sending me updates of their
    photos.I wish to know if you are knowledgeable about this breed or if
    you have owned a bird before? You got kids? Because they are so
    playful and affectionate.They are n’t for sale, all I’m looking for is
    just a good and caring home where they could become the center of
    attention.

    Attached are their photos

    Kind Regards,

    Rosemary

  7. Glyndie says:

    Just for all ur info this is what they are using for people to pay for the transport. Note acc not even under the company name.
    From: Greenline Pet Cargo Agency
    Date: Mon, Nov 18, 2013 at 9:32 PM
    Subject: CRATE DEPOSIT-BIRDS
    To: Rosemary Anne Burke
    Cc: glyndie@mail.com

     
                                           GREENLINE PETS CARGO AGENCY

     
    Dear Client,

    Since our today’s flight that  your birds can take is at 14H50 this afternoon,if you pay the money directly to our company account from that side,it will take a couple of days for the payment to be confirmed and this will delay your birds flight. So for your birds to be on our today’s flight,we can only help you with our cashier’s South African bank account for immediate confirmation of payment:

    BANK: FNB
    Acc No: 62302501110
    Acc Name:  JM Pretorius
    Branch Code: 250841
    Reference: MST 321746-027/BL/25

    The full crate deposit will be refunded but to you the beneficiary tomorrow by our agents upon delivery of your birds and collecting back our crate.

    You must do a direct deposit at the bank so that the deposit can be confirmed immediately.

    You must just attach the proof of payment to this email address for immediate confirmation of payment.

     

                            Stay to Enjoy Our Service International Cargo and pets Moving Services.MANAGEMENT

    Cargo Branch secretary;Mr James Robinson

  8. Chantelle says:

    My daughter was also nearly scammed – lucky I picked it up. “Maria” also sent a photocopy of an id of DU PLESSIS MARIA LOUISE ID NO7201413 066 081

    Below is the email to my daughter:

    Thanks for the interest in my baby.I’m Maria from Johannesburg.I work
    in the Net Care Clinic in Johannesburg, but currently in
    Yaounde,Cameroon for an international AIDS Project.I traveled along
    with my female Toy Pom puppy(Beni), but due to the nature of my work
    here I can’t really take care of her anymore, so I have decided to
    give her out for adoption and I’m only interested in adopting my puppy
    only in SA where I could always pass by to check on her when I’m back
    in the country, or to someone who will promise sending me updates of
    her photos.I wish to know if you are knowledgeable about this breed or
    if you have owned a dog before? You got kids? Because she’s so
    playful and affectionate.Beni isn’t for sale, all I’m looking for is
    just a good and caring home where she could become the center of
    attention.

  9. vinay says:

    similar scam involving free adoption of a Rottweiler puppy. the name given was Louisa Maria Du Plessis ex Alberton now in Yaoundé, Cameroon working on an aid mission. Same MO as the above bird and dog scam.

    Sick people out there preying on our compassion for animals.

    DO NOT GIVE AWAY FREE PETS PEOPLE PLEASE….always charge a fee. It is a deterrent to the sickos!

    PETS ARE FAMILY NOT GIFTS!!!

  10. Brenda says:

    Hi guys …a guy is selling me a blue and gold macaw for 2300 and i don’t know if its a scam ?he said I should pay 1200 and when i recieve my macaw i can pay the rest …the delivery agency ‘said’ the are going to drive onely 48 min to my house …how do i know if this is a scam..?

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