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Goin' phishing!

Posted Thursday, April 15, 2010, at 5:17 PM

I'm encountering a situation that I just don't understand, so if any of you have some theories, I'd be happy to hear them.

This morning, I got not one - but two - of those strange relay calls where an unknown person wants to put a "free for the taking" classified ad in the North Stoddard Countian.

The first or even the second time I got a call like this, I put it through to the Kennett office - but when my cohort in that office tried to get some concrete information from the individual, he hung up.

According to my Bollinger County Stray Project animal rescue friend Marilyn Neville, those "free for the taking" ads can be a scam. Here's how it works -- The person puts a free ad in the paper with a number where interested parties can contact them. The dog is always some pedigreed, high-dollar dog, like a Yorkie.

When the interested party responds to the ad, the scammer makes arrangements to ship the dog, requiring several hundred dollars for the expenses. One of Marilyn's acquaintances spent $600 on a deal like this --- and the dog never showed up.

The scammer is impossible to trace, so he/she is never caught.

In this case, the variation on the scheme is the fact that the person placing the free ad is supposedly deaf. Or, at least I THINK he is. Would it be possible for anyone else to use the relay system?

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Dolphin, once the ad is placed, the newspaper has no control over any transactions.

It seems suspicious to me that one person, deaf or not, would call a paper multiple times with these "free ads" for high-dollar pups. It sounds like a scam to me. There has to be money involved, no matter what the ad says initially.

I suppose the fact that a person is deaf doesn't guarantee that they're honest! Sad but true!

-- Posted by goat lady on Sun, Apr 18, 2010, at 9:44 PM

The relay system requires a special keyboard/computer type thing that you plug into your phone line. It almost looks like an electronic calculator, only it has a keyboard instead of a 10-key pad. As far as I know, those things go for thousands of dollars. So, this person has to be deaf. The only thing you could do is make sure whomever does this doesn't agree to pay any money for the animal, even for shipping. If it's free, it's free. If it needs to be shipped, the person would be able to give it away wherever they're located. That's all the advice I have to give...hope it helps!

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Sun, Apr 18, 2010, at 9:25 PM

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Madeline DeJournett
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at advancensc@sbcglobal.net.
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