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July 21, 2005

Lost Dog Scams Bite Online Users

Courtesy of TechWeb News

Scammers have taken a traditional double-cross played on owners of lost dogs to the Internet, a fido-finding Web site reported Thursday.

In recent years, said the site -- a dog-discovery site where owners can post rewards and finders can post notices -- people have preyed on owners of lost canines by demanding reward money for the return of a pet. In actuality, it's all a scam: the bogus bounty hunter never found the dog, but only used the information on lost dog posters to pretend.

"Unsuspecting lost dog owners have been coerced into wiring cash to individuals who promise to return their dog by flying them back home in a pet carrier only to never receive their pet or hear back from the caller," said Wes Cutshall, the founder of Fido Finder, in a statement.

The scam has now moved online, he added.

A user, Denise Roussy, was contacted by someone who said he had her lost dog, said Cutshall. The man demanded $1,000 for the dog's return; Roussy, however, had only offered $250.

"I asked him a number of questions, some of which he could get from the information on the [Fido Finder] posting and the picture," said Roussy in another statement. "The other information was what helped me ascertain that it was a scam and he did not have Bailey at all," says Roussy.

Currently, on the site, several pet owners have posted rewards, ranging from $500 to $2,500, for the return of lost animals. In all 286 people have listed lost dogs and 435 people say they have found dogs. Some show photos and offer detailed information about the dogs.

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