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Scams in Today's News:

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 Post subject: Lost Pet Scam
PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2007 10:44 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2007 10:50 am
Posts: 291
Location: WI
This story was in my local newspaper and thought I would share it. These scammers are just sick and twisted with the things they come up with.

Consider today's offering a bookend that completes the set - a polar pair.

In Sunday's column, I wrote about the lengths that several people went to successfully free an injured cat from a real jam - wedged near the wheel of a car driven by her unwitting owner.

Today, it's a darker tale about Cici the lost border collie, with no happy ending and a warning about the lengths some will go to cash in on another's desperation.

A week ago after work, Charles Rathmann arrived at his Town of Delafield home to find that Cici had pulled a 2-pound box of Keebler crackers, otherwise destined for the Thanksgiving hors d'oeuvres tray, from a shelf and ate much of it.

With baby daughter Faith to tend to and his wife not yet home, he scolded Cici and let her out. A few minutes later when he called her, Rathmann said, she was gone.

"When she is in trouble or not happy with the way things are going, she'll pull a stunt like this so that you are just happy to have her back," Rathmann e-mailed last week. "This is what you get for owning a dog with an IQ that rivals that of a typical 6-year-old."

Blame Rathmann for letting his smart dog loose as owners often do, but it's clear he cherished his pet. He spent hours and days posting "lost dog" signs. He called county law enforcement and area humane societies. He posted notices on the Web-based Craigslist and on That first night, he and friend Tom Mauthe pounded the pavement until 1 a.m. Wednesday.

By 2:43 a.m. Wednesday, a hopeful e-mail arrived from "Govindas Smith," claiming she'd seen the dog with a woman trying to find the owner. She passed on an e-mail address for "Shywood" and said: "Write to her. She may be of help."

A desperate Rathmann bit. "There will be a special place in our heart if you can help us bring her home."

But he soon grew suspicious, especially when the poorly worded and ungrammatical closer came.

Shywood wrote: "I have become a little close to the pet," spending much on food and health care, on its "lost specification papers" and for "a new insurance." Uh-huh.

Just one thing, Shywood said. "The money I had spend (sic) was budgeted to help an orphanage today." So if Rathmann could send "any sum" that Shywood would forward to the orphanage, the pet would be returned.

It's stunning how gullible people can be to come-ons like the so-called Nigerian scams. But as an un-gullible Rathmann said, it's one thing to swindle the greedy and something else to "extort" money from a desperate pet owner.

So dog owners, beware.

Meanwhile, Rathmann kept searching. Cici had been spotted Wednesday around a day care center and rehabilitation hospital along Golf Road west of Highway T, but she kept her distance. Rathmann wonders if his pal, normally people-friendly, wasn't reclusive because of illness.

Cici was found dead Friday morning, without visible sign of injury, off the west side of Highway T near Golf Road. Rathmann, who'd traced her footsteps through the snow, went for a stiff brandy and Coke.

"We really had a great dog," he said, sounding wounded.

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