1) Getting married makes breaking up incredibly difficult.
2) Think long and hard before committing to even try getting pregnant.
3) Never WIRE money to someone you don't know personally. Or to any of the other parties that it says clearly at the top of every wire transfer / Moneygram form to not send money to.
I can't believe that at the ripe old age of 39—after years of using the internet frequently (to say the least) and feeling perhaps a tiny bit smug that I had never fallen for a seriously compromising phishing scam or any of the other internet boondoggles that one reads about—I have fallen for such a ridiculously evil scam, that I am ashamed to admit it happened.
The scam involved puppies, for crying out loud. Puppies that looked like this:
Lord help me, LOOK AT THOSE PUPPIES!
And in the thrill of finding these puppies and thinking that I had the world on a string via my iPhone... I did not carefully go through the emails that I had exchanged with the breeder or google all the parties involved or ask for verification papers to be sent OR ANYTHING.
In my excitement and squealing and ooh-ing and aaah-ing—I ran to the bank, got out $1300 in cash (you heard me right *my cheeks are burning red just thinking about it*) and then WIRED the money to this person who said she would ship the puppies to me via an airline from Hartford, CT to Lafayette.
I did it because I trusted the local breeder that gave me this breeder's name, even though I didn't know this breeder personally (!), but I felt I could trust them because they had a website, were less than and hour and a half drive away and seemed to pretty clearly be a legit and reputable source of French Bulldog puppies.
So what happened?
I know you want all the gruesome details... Don't bother trying to deny it.
Well, the puppies were supposed to arrive at the Lafayette airport on Saturday morning, but instead of getting puppies, I got an email saying that she was just back from the airport and everything had gone horribly wrong because of a paperwork issue having to do with change of ownership for the puppies. She was going to send the pups just as soon as she could, but she was going to need $750 more to do so.
This was my first moment of thinking, "Oh, shit." I'd heard or seen of something like this before: in a news report about the African scammers who target hapless older people via email solicitations and then get them to wire money so they can share the proceeds of some ridiculously large "unclaimed inheritance."
I emailed the original, local breeder to ask what the heck was going on and to say that this all seemed extremely unorthodox. This woman wrote me back that she had known the breeder in question for 30 years, had sent many people her way who had all been happy with their French bulldog pups, and even a whole cock & bull story about the woman being elderly and hard of hearing.
So then the part comes where I willingly submit to being strung along like a goddammed fish and actually take the time to email back and forth with this horrible, dishonest thief for literally 50 emails. Of course, THANK GOD, I did not wire any more money to this person despite their pleas that
"i don't want to delay you anymore, i want to speed everything so that you can receive your puppies today, please understand that i will never hurt your beautiful boys that you sent their pictures to me." —Gerald Krise
[Yes, I sent a photo of my boys to show this con-person how excited we were about getting the puppies.] [Yes, I was willing to forgive the broken English.] [Yes, I feel incredibly naive for not noticing until *just this very moment* that there was a spelling mistake in the thief's email address. Groan.]
It was the human touches that made me believe that maybe, just maybe, this really was a borderline demented old lady who was just stuck in her ways and wouldn't let me pay the shipping fee directly to the airline with my credit card, as I had offered, because it "just isn't the way I do things." However, it was the following exchange that made me lose almost all hope. (This first part is me responding to their request to just send $300 more and they would reimburse me after they got their paycheck the following week.)
I'm sorry, I will not wire anymore cash until I have the puppies with me. I have already sent $1300 which you no longer seem to have. I am willing to pay for the shipping via credit card and that is the only way that I will spend more money at this point. You are going to have to try things a different way if you want this deal to work out. :( —Amy
The puppy-debasing swindler's response:
"They said that you should send the fee to my name and address that there is no problem."
I actually laughed out loud at how ludicrous this response was.
Before I started crying, I mean.
After several more emails where I detail firmly that there are only two options left on the table: "One, send the puppies when you have the money. Or, two, refund my $1300." It ended with one last email from them saying they just needed $150 more to ship the puppies immediately. Sigh. So today I decided to level threats at the local breeder and emailed her to say, basically, "Look, you introduced me to this person and now they've apparently stolen my money. Unless you do right by me, I'm taking down both of you on every breeder forum I can post on and you stand a lot more to lose than your friend because you have a much larger internet presence."
At which point I finally went back to the local breeder's site to look up her phone number... And couldn't find the right name on the site, so I thought I confused it with another Louisiana breeder I had looked at... and then had the bright idea (about four days and $1300 too late) to cross-reference the email addresses with the emails I had been receiving.
Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!
I had gone through all of this thinking that the original email and reference to this other breeder had come from this particular Louisiana-based French bulldog breeder's website. In fact, it did not. It came from some random classified ad-holder on hoobly.com. I still can't remember sending this person an email and there isn't any record of it in my email box, but I must've sent an enquiry to them at some point about a puppy they were advertising.
And if I had noticed this detail when I first heard back from them, I wouldn't be out so much money and feeling like I lost two adorable puppies that I never really owned.
So, to sum up this wretched experience, I would advise you to:
1.) Never wire anyone money.
2.) Don't ever get so excited about buying something that you don't take the time to check over ALL the details.
and 3.) If you ever meet someone named Gerald Krise, who lives at 6 Little Loch Way, Windsor CT 06095—please kick him in the balls for me.
In the end, I guess I have to feel lucky that I didn't get suckered into losing more, but I am so painfully embarrassed that something like this has happened to me. I'm smart, dammit! I'm savvy!
So, even though I never want to speak of this again and I don't want to read the almost assured-to-arrive nasty comments about how I "should've known better" (yes, I KNOW I SHOULD'VE, thank you very much), and, honestly, I just want to forget the whole thing ever happened—I can't.
I want my story to get out there to let other people know that the smartest, most internet-savvy person they know could still be taken in by an internet scam involving something as simple as squee-inducing photos of puppies.
FYI: I'm calling the police in Windsor, CT to report this and hope that these crooks get caught and prosecuted. (I'll post an update when/if anything happens, but I won't be holding my breath for anything to turn up.) The parties involved (or the names given, anyway) were: Eileen Tolson < firstname.lastname@example.org > and Gerald Krise < email@example.com >. Search engines, do your work!