Friday, August 5, 2011

Time for another lobbying group

Continuing on the dog theme.

Let's say that you want to go into some type of dog business, but don't have sufficient capital to buy facilities and webcams and the like.

What about dog-walking or dog-sitting? Or, if you're so inclined, poop-scooping?

WikiHow lists the things that you may need for a dog-walking business.

Dog treats/cookies
Good communication skills
Pooper Scooper or a plastic bag to pick up poops
Toys, a tennis ball is usually good
Water Bowl
Notebook with all clients emergency numbers
Dogs to walk
An extra notebook to record what they are doing.

OK, there may be one additional expense that you haven't considered - the membership costs to join the Professional United Pet Sitters LLC. Yes, that's "PUPS."

However, the fee isn't that great - less than US$40. And you get a number of benefits, including a email alias that you can use for business purposes, a variety of marketing and financial materials and forms for your business, and even "pet bakery items" that you can market. The Professional United Pet Sitters LLC also advises on insurance, and also advises on common scams. As is noted, "many new pet sitters don't realize how common it is for scammers to target specific industries with their online scams."

Here's an example:

The scam starts with a scammer inquiring about pet sitter services, often specifically dog walking services. Or the scammer may offer to give away an animal (often a dog), or may claim to be wanting to buy an animal (mistaking pet sitters for dog breeders).

When a pet sitter responds, an offer is made by the scammer to send payment for services or goods by Money Order, often from some time of "business" the scammer claims to work for, or a government "embassy".

The amount of the Money Order will be written for more than the amount needed, and the recipient is to send the extra on to a 3rd party.

The Money Orders are fraudulent. However, many banks will still cash the Money Order and place the funds into the pet sitters account within a few days. However, usually within a month, the Money Order is returned as fraudulent, and the bank will withdraw the money from the pet sitter's account. The bank may also charge extra fees, and may pursue the sitter with criminal charges for cashing a fake check.

By that time, the pet sitter has often thought that since the bank cashed the check, it was good - and they've already sent legitimate funds back to the scammer, often using western union. Usually the scammer is long gone with the money by this time.

The scammer also separately requests "errand" services from other pet sitters. The fraudulent checks are sent first to these pet sitters, who repackage them and forward them on to you. This gives the mail a local (U.S.) envelop and stamp instead of the original Nigeria labels - making the check look more legit.

This sitter is usually paid with a fraudulent check also. And since mail fraud is a federal offense, this sitter can be in serious legal trouble for mailing a fraudulent check - even though they didn't know it was all a scam.
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