This story was first published on3rd August 2010
Internet scammers use many and varied ruses to separate the unwary from their hard-earned money. One such ruse specifically targets parrot fanciers.
These scammers troll for potential victims by posting fake ads or “adoption request” messages on parrot related classified ad sites and forums. In other cases, the scammers may answer a request to purchase a parrot. The messages often claim that the poster needs to find a new home for a parrot such as a Macaw and is willing to sell the bird for a fraction of its value.
Other versions claim that the poster is willing to actually give the parrot away to a good home so long as their new owner is willing to cover basic delivery fees. Usually, the message will contain photographs supposedly showing the bird being offered.
In reality, the promised cheap or free parrot does not exist. If a potential victim answers one of these fake messages, the scammers will respond with more information about the bird they claim to own. Typically, the scammers will invent some sad tale to explain why they must sell or give away their much-loved parrot. However, the parrot’s supposed owner will insist that any payments must be made before the bird is delivered.
If a victim falls for the ruse and sends money to buy the bird or pay transport costs, requests for further fees are likely to follow.
If the victim sends what he or she believes is the full and final payment for the parrot, the scammers may then reply with an “urgent” request for more money to cover “unexpected” expenses such as vet bills or permit fees. And, similarly, if a victim sends money in the initial belief that the requested fee is to cover the transportation of his or her “free” parrot, the scammers may again ask for extra payments for vet bills, higher than expected delivery charges or a host of other entirely imaginary expenses.
Requests for even more bogus “fees” are apt to continue until the victim belatedly realizes that he or she is being scammed and that the parrot will never be sent. The photographs of the parrots used in the scam messages are usually taken from legitimate parrot related websites without the knowledge or permission of the site owners.
Of course, parrots are very regularly – and perfectly legitimately – bought and sold via the Internet. And, in some cases, parrot owners may even be willing to give away their birds due to changes in their circumstances. However, people should be very cautious of any deals in which expensive parrots are being sold for a fraction of their value or being given away.
An article about such parrot scams previously published on BirdTricks.com noted:
When people just want a good home for their bird and will only charge you shipping, BE CAUTIOUS. Demand photos with DATE STAMPS, demand phone calls with the people you’re in contact with, demand to talk to the vet who checks the birds before shipping them. And when it’s international, you HAVE to complete paperwork so don’t believe the sender has it “all taken care of” because they can’t! It’s literally impossible, both parties HAVE to complete paperwork such as import/export permits and go through designated ports of entry. Vets have to check the animals at take off and landing destinations… it’s very in depth so don’t let anyone fool you.
In many cases, the scammers will also demand a significant amount of personal information from their victims during the course of the scam. The scammers will claim that they require such information to verify their victim’s identity and reputation, ostensibly so that they can be confident that their much-loved parrot will be in safe hands. In reality, the personal information submitted by the victim may subsequently be used to steal his or her identity.
Subject: Well trained macaw parrot for sale (8months old)
Hello, i have a male Macaw parrot which i will be selling out to any loving and caring homes only for $540.
it will be given to you in a iron cage that can be rolled into any room.It is a well trained and behaved parrot, i got it as a present for my wife as a birthday gift before she passed away and i am a very busy man so i dont get the time to look after it properly, i have raised it with love and passion which i want any loving home to do as well if interested.
Please any home out there that is interested in taking care of this bird should contact me for more information and more pictures.
I have attached few pictures of him below.
feel free to contact me.[Numbers removed]
Subject: re african grey
Thanks for your message regarding my male and female African Grey birds.
They are still available to any one prepared to provide any of them with enough care and love,where he/she will be well spoiled with all their needs…..They are 8months old and has very good temperament with kids and other pets,very playful love to play around with toys and kids,They are health guaranteed and DNA tested, up to date on all their shots and will be coming along side their health papers and vet records they also speak English and is a very intelligent and highly social birds.They are called Lynna and Jerry and i am actually giving them out because I am an aid worker with an international organization called water for life giving aid to people in third world countries suffering from poor water supplies and deadly diseases caused by poor drinkable water sources in Third world countries .
I am 40 single with no kids.My job is a really demanding and time consuming one and i hardly find the time again to give this birds all the love and affection they need, that’s why i am trying to find a home for them as soon as possible. All you need to do is pay for his/her transportation to your location asking $300 for one and $600 for them both and i am located in (Hinton west Virginia ) please can i asked you a few questions if you would not mind? are you a breeder? do you have kids? Can you also promise that you will take good care of any of them? How soon are you ready to have he/she home? At least with this information,i will get to know better where he/she will be going to.
Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!