Photo by Dave Location: Orlando, FL Macaws: Camelot Macaws "Comet" & "Tusa", Blue throat macaw "Jinx"
I received these emails today from a lady named Wendy.
"Dear: Jamie i had been looking for a bird and i was told by a lady that she had a couple of parrots that i would like and so i fell for it with a lot of investagating and with $308.00 later i still have no birds i was scanning over pictures they were sending me and they were showing google so i checked on google and the pictures of you and your beautiful parrots show up i need you to please confirm theses pictures and let me know if they are you cause these people keep sending me emails saying they need more money i feel that this may be a scam because theses pic's look like you i will forward to you what they had sent me. Please help me confirm this so i can bust them i am hurt they took from me and i am a older women excpecially at christmas time. Please help Thank you wendy"
The pictures she attached were various ones of me and my parrots, all stolen from my Flickr account.
"Dear: Jamie This is the ad and the pic's that were sent over about the parrots please help me and let me know if this is your family so i can get a message out there to people to be aware of whats going on this was all done through kijij. I feel hurt and so forth but i am hoping you can confirm it's you and all this was a scam and so that you can see to people are stilling your photos and using them to still money from people. I now have childern who can't have christmas cause i had gotten scammed and they took my money and my daughters. Please lets put a stop to this. Thank you Wendy"
Wendy was sent numerous photos of just my birds, then me and my birds, and just everything. The scammers even claimed that they had moved the birds to their "facility" and sent pictures from there... really, that was just my parents' garage in Idaho where we were keeping them over Christmas last year with us.
Here are the SCAMMER'S EMAILS USED for this scam:
And this is what an email for this sort of thing looks like from a scammer: "hi there My Name is Ann i live in 5460 Old W. Saanich Rd Victoria, British Columbia Canada. Thanks for your mail regarding my birds.they are still available to any one prepared to provide them with enough care and love,where there will be well spoil with all their needs.They are 6months old and have very good temperament with kids and other pets,very playful love to play around with toys and kids,they are health guaranteed and registered,vet checked.they are up to date on all their shots and will be coming along side with all their health papers and vet records.My Hyacinths learns quickly and need a lot of stimulation, daily contact and interaction with their people to be happy.they also try to speak English and they are a Highly social birds.They are called Vinny and Pinny and i believe you will never regret adopting them ..Please may i ask you a few questions?where are you located?are you a breeder?do you have kids?Can you also promise that you will take good care of them?At least with this information,i will get to know better where they will be going to.below is an attachment of their recent pictures for you to see.i just hope you will love them.I will also like you to promise me that you will always send their pictures to me monthly so that i can see how they are doing in your home.i will be waiting for your mail asap. thanks"
The purpose of these particular scams is to get a few hundred bucks from you. They claim they are "just looking for a good home" and you just have to pay for bloodwork, paperwork processing and other vet bills that are on an IMAGINARY parrot that the scammer doesn't really have. So if you read an ad that says something similar, check our flickr account first and make sure they aren't of OUR birds before you hand some internet stranger your money.
Article by Jamieleigh Womach. She has been working with parrots and toucans since the age of 17. She isn’t homeless but is home less than she prefers to be. She travels the world with her husband, daughter, and a flockful of parrots whom she shares the stage with.