HOW TO DETECT SCAMMERS
Commonly we get phone calls and e-mails from people who have been scammed. Sometimes these people honestly didn't know what bulldogs were worth, or couldn't afford the going rate. I really feel bad for those people. So I'm going to try to help them, and you, avoid heartbreak. It doesn't have to happen. You just need some information.
What you always have to remember is a lot of scammers are lazy & stupid, and they prey on the people who are either naïve, or miserly. Those people who want something for nothing, or are too lazy to do their homework, are the prime target for them. If you do your homework scammers are just like any other common thief, you are too much work for them to scam you, and they go on to easier prey.
You have to understand who the scammers are: These people come from a culture where this type of activity is accepted, even admired. They may even work out of an office where their “formula” is all set out, not unlike a tele-marketer. They make their living ripping people off. It's not personal. It's all in a day's work. To them you are the “Mugu”, which is a stupid person who deserves to be ripped off.
In these cultures the scammer is celebrated by a large percentage of the population. Like the “Gangster Culture” in North America. In these countries police often take kick-backs, and their music videos have songs about “419 Man” (the penal code for scammers in Nigeria), and “Chop Your Dollar” which is a direct reference to the scamming trade. So don't think you can appeal to their humanity & compassion.
So that means it's up to you to protect yourself. For those of you who have some idea of what a bulldog usually costs, price should be the first indication that something smells like last week's fish. In short bulldogs do not breed naturally, give birth naturally, nor raise their own puppies. Just the conception alone can cost thousands of dollars. How on earth could a breeder sell one for under $2,000? It's impossible, and insulting to the breeder to expect it, and if you do your homework you will KNOW that. If you want to know more about why bulldogs are so expensive, see the article on our website entitled, oddly enough, “Why Are Bulldogs So Expensive”. We can logically assume if the cost is below market value that it's a scam. If you want to proceed, do so with caution.
For those who are genuinely uninformed as to the usual cost for a bulldog, or want to disregard the price discrepancy, their first and best clue is the scammer's lack of command of the English language. For all those politically correct people out there – cool your shorts – I'm not being deliberately insensitive to different languages & cultures, it's simply a fact. I've yet to converse with one that was “well educated” in the English language. Their spelling, punctuation, grammar, & use of inappropriate language is a big tip-off.
Some of the scammers think the use of “four letter words” is acceptable here in our culture. They watch American television & music videos and think that is how we talk to one another. So someone wanting to buy a puppy from me, using the “f” word kind of makes me see red. (Scammers also target breeders as well.) Offending the breeder might NOT be the best route for any potential buyer to take, bogus or otherwise.
I've found many more of them working the opposite routine. They think that in the West we also espouse “Christian Values” and therefore trust “Christians”. A lot of scammers can be detected by their use of “Christian” terms. They use terms like “bless-you”, and say they are looking for a “homely” family (not realizing that to us homely means rather ugly, thanks a lot). They talk about Ministers and other people of religious significance, likely to induce trust. Now really, doesn't this kind of talk generally make your B#LL S+*T detector start to beep, anyway? In general, when people talk like that I tend to keep one hand on my wallet. It's just a good precaution.
Also, you will find if you ask questions and deviate from their “formula”, they don't know what to answer. They just won't answer the questions. When you've pretty well got them figured out, it's always fun to ask a bunch of questions, or throw them a curve, just to see how they will answer. (for example: A scammer was wanting to “buy” a puppy from us for the “Police Force”. They asked for a photo of the bulldog puppy to verify its suitability as a guard dog. I sent a photo of a Chihuahua baring its teeth. They completely ignored the photo and still tried to proceed with the scam.”)
Ask questions. The common formula is a Minister has gone to do missionary work in Nigeria or Cameroon, and has taken his puppy with him. He now realizes that he has not got enough time for the puppy and wants to ship it back to a good home in what ever country YOU are in, oddly enough. The price is so very reasonable that you can't possibly resist. But think about it. EVERY responsible breeder has a “buy back” clause in their sales contract. All he would have to do is contact the breeder and send the puppy back to its original home.
Let's be practical here. Breeders cannot hope to keep up with demand. Think about it. Even without a buy back clause, if the breeder sold the puppy for $2,500 to the Minister, then the Minister wants to sell it for $500 to $800 (depending on the scammer), or simply the price of shipping, the breeder would be foolish NOT to want to buy the puppy back and re-sell it for another $2,500. Profit is NOT a bad thing.
Then there is the age – the puppy cannot leave the country unless it is at least 8 – 12 weeks of age. Commonly the puppy advertised is only 8 weeks. So, just how likely is it that this good Man of the Cloth purchased a new puppy, moved to a new country, got settled into his new home, found that the puppy needed more attention, advertised and found you to return to his native land, and STILL be only 8 weeks. When did it have time to do all this globe trotting?
NEVER EVER use Western Union. I've NEVER heard of a real breeder using Western Union. If you don't have complete confidence in your breeder, DO NOT send money out of the country. ESPECIALLY to a 3 rd world country. Imported dogs are another subject entirely. They are sometimes of wonderful quality, we have some ourselves, but it's not for those who don't know what they are doing just to save a buck or two.
What I am saying is – USE YOUR HEAD. Be suspicious. If in doubt call the Canadian Kennel Club and verify the breeder. It's an inexpensive call, and you would be surprised how many people are just too lazy to bother. Don't bother to check out ANYTHING, and that's what the scammer is counting on. They are looking for the lazy & gullible.
Sometimes people want a puppy so bad they don't use their heads and get their hearts broken. But more and more we are hearing from people who know better, but simply didn't want to pay full price, and got ripped off for their trouble. We don't feel at all bad for them. I'll tell you a little story.
We knew a family for a few years casually. They knew we raised bulldogs, in fact we had discussed bulldogs and explained how difficult and expensive they were to raise. They were financially able to afford the price, but frequently jibed us about how “no dog was worth that much”. I got a call from them complaining that they had “bought” a bulldog from Europe and got scammed. By the time they got done they had nearly paid the price they would have paid for a real puppy, with a guarantee, from us. They thought we should supply their children with a free puppy because they had got scammed. They had learned nothing… they STILL were trying to get something for nothing. I told them that it was their decision to try to avoid fair market price that got them scammed, and I saw no reason for US to loose money because of it. They don't speak to us now. Pity.
Google – Nigerian Puppy Scam, or Cameroon English Bulldog on line and you will find lots more information.
Remember this is just my opinion. If you STILL want to advertise on line for a cheap puppy in hopes of attracting some nice breeder to sell you a puppy below their cost, then go right ahead. It's like asking for them to take money out of their own pocket…and insults them by inferring that they are asking an unreasonable price for their hard work and huge expenses……. but….. hey, you never know. There are people who make a living pan handling. So if your story is good enough….
If you choose to send your money to that nice Minister from Nigeria…and wait for your pretty puppy at the airport….. by all means. Everyone has choices to make in their lives, just don't complain about the outcome of your choices, especially now that you have been warned.
Bottom line is – sometimes in this life you get what you deserve. So be careful what you wish for, and do your due-diligence.
I'm just say'n s‘all.