Scammed by the Best

by on January 11, 2023 · 10 comments

in Ocean Beach

Precious with blue eyes.

By Judi Curry

For those of you that read my columns on the OB Rag, you are aware that I had to put my wonderful Golden Retriever down a few months ago because he developed cancer and there was no cure for him. “Shadow” lived up to his name to the nth degree.

I got him just a few months after my husband died, and he became my companion; he seemed to be able to know when I was sad, when I was happy; when I needed a hug, etc. There was no way I could find a “replacement” for him but I did not want to be without the doggie companion that Shadow was for me.  So I began looking for another Golden, and my search took me all over the United States.

I tried so many places in California – places where I had found rescue dogs before.  I tried the Baja Sanctuary in Mexico where I found Shadow, and although they had many dogs, they did not have any Goldens, at least at that time.


It was so frustrating, because I was hurting so badly and every day without my companion was difficult. And then, on Facebook, I came across a website called “Golden Retrievers for Rehoming.”  There were several breeders on this site, and the one that caught my eye was Mallory Bourne, because she had two adult Goldens for sale.  Max was the one that I was interested in – a white Golden, about 2 years old and a beauty.  People had said nice things about Mallory, and I decided to seek out Max more carefully.

One of the things that I did was to contact the administrator of the group, Rylee Caitlin,  and ask about Mallory.  I told her about three scammers on her website that I had already had a run-in with, and she said she was glad to know that and would remove them quickly.  She said to me that “ . . . it is hard enough losing your best friend without being scammed.”

She and I communicated many times; each time she said that Mallory was legitimate, and, in fact, was a friend of hers.  She told me that they were both in Atlanta, but I could obtain Max through the pet courier. Mallory told me that Rex’s rehoming fee was $250 and the Courier charges $220 for shipping a pet through air freight.  She told me it was safe and she has been doing that for a long time.

She went on to tell me that Max weighed about 75 pounds and was very playful.  She also told me that she was a breeder but she has a litter now and wants to rehome Max and Emily for other families to take care of them.  She has had Max for about a year and Emily – a female – was given to her about 5 months ago.

Mallory asked for name, address, closest airport to my home, etc.  She said she would send me a tracking number so I could monitor the position of Max and see his arrival time.  Originally she was going to ship him on Thanksgiving, but I asked her to wait one day because I was going to be out of town.  She said there was no problem.

She then asked me how I preferred to pay for Max – she uses PayPal, Cashapp and Zelle.  I said that I don’t use any of those but I would check into paying through Zelle.  Unfortunately my credit union does use Zelle, and I told her I would send the money to her.

Then she said it is “$500 plus the $30 tracking fee.  I said, “I thought you told me is was $470.” She said that didn’t include the tracking. And it was then I should have seen the red flag.  But I wanted Max so badly I let it go.

Then a second red flag flew up high.  Mallory told me to send the Zelle money to a Linda Jodie.  I said that isn’t the name she was listed under. She said it is her Zelle account for business.  So I called back administrator Rylee and once again verified Mallory was legitimate; she said that Linda was Mallory’s sister and for precaution sake she was using her sister’s account.  And… I still wanted Max!

And I sent it.  And then there was a problem with it. Mallory kept asking to see the email from my credit union that I sent to her.  Finally she said that it had come in and was received successfully.  She said she would send me the tracking number on that upcoming Friday.

On Friday I got a message from Mallory that there was still a problem.  She told me to check my account balance because she didn’t think the money went through.  She told me that on her payment receipt it will be enrolling in her account in 14 days!  She suggested that I call my bank and stop it immediately.  I did! And they told me that it had already gone through and was deposited in the account.  I asked for a stop payment – and guess what? – You can’t stop a payment on Zelle because it is CASH.

I told Mallorly it had been deposited.  She answered by saying, “Ma’am, you know what we’ll do?? We’ll help you.  Show me Zelle activity, Ma’am. Send me zelle activity by sending me a picture of your zelle activity. I wanna see the past transactions.  I wanna see how it shows $530 on your account.”

I told her that I sent it, in good faith, to where she wanted it sent.

I suggested that she was a scammer.  She said, “I’m not a scammer ma’am.  I understand that you are trying to be skeptical but I assure you that this is not what you think. I am a Christian that won’t stoop that low as to fraud people.  All I am interested in is a loving a caring home for these babies, okay and you have assured me and I trusted you, now I want you to trust me as well in order to have this puppy.  I have great respect and dignity for my family that I won’t stand so low as to defraud people of their hard earned money.  That is awful and against my religion.  I would want you to give me your full trust okay, you haven’t done me or my family any harm so why would I want to defraud you of your money?”

Then she said something that blew me away.  Let me quote it:  “I’ll do something for you. Go to Walmart and buy a $200 gift card and send to me so I can use it to ship Max.  I’ll just ship Max to you while waiting for your money to bounce back after 14 days. When it bounces back you can complete the balance.”

I told her I was not going to go to Walmart; that the amount she told me was already sent to her, and, at this time, I could not afford any more money.  I was not going to send her any more money.

The following day I received the next communication: “Guess what ma’am! I’m so happy. The bank just called me and signaled me that my zelle account was inactive so I activated it back and the money just went through just now.  Tomorrow is set for delivery then.  As a matter of fact am getting everything ready for Max.  I’ll get back to you in the evening.”

She went on to tell me about the food and toys she would be shipping with Max and then hit me with this:  “Ma’am, to process the ownership paperwork we are going to need AKC [American Kennel Club] stamp on them. So Max will come along with his documents fully under your name.  The AKC stamp and paper work cost $200 which has to be done before tomorrow because I will be flying him out tomorrow.  I’ll have to head to the American Kennel Club as soon as possible to do that.”

I told her that if she had told me about the additional monies I would have stopped the procedure about buying Max from the beginning. I said I did not have the extra $200.  She said that I should ask my children to give me the money for him.  Then once again suggested I go get a $200 gift card from Walmart.  She told me that she was sorry but it’s a necessity to pay for paperwork of the dog.

She added, “please just trust me on this!  If the dog isn’t registered then the shipping fee will be the normal bill of $700! Because flying a unregistered dog is really, really expensive. Just make an effort.  Nothing else after this. This is the last step.”

Once again I told her I didn’t have the money and she said “you have kids ma’am. They can help you. $200 isn’t a big deal.  I don’t want to give Max to someone else.  If you have $100 then I’ll help you with $100. You will be a good care giver to Max.”  Again I told her that I did not have the extra monies, and she came back with “am asking for $100 and I’ll complete it ma’am. Just make an effort.”

I told her that I was not able to buy Max; that I wanted my money back. She told me that she can’t refund my money because her bank account was locked due to my zelle transfer.  She said that it was my payment that locked her account. She said she didn’t mind me not helping her with her bank issues, but that she just wanted to “get done with me” and send me Max.  She said she can’t receive money in her account anymore and that’s why she is asking for gift cards.

Again I told her I was not able to purchase Max and she said that she was only going to give Max to me, and only me.  She said that I had already paid $500 – another $100 won’t be a big deal.  As soon as I send her the $100 she would ship Max.  She said that she had already paid the courier fee, and she would postpone the date until my money came in.

Throughout this discussion with Mallory, I checked with Rylee to make sure that what was being told to me was correct.  At each step she said that Mallory was legitimate.  And throughout Rylee’s site others had written how wonderful Rylee was and one “buyer” even wrote that “I don’t regret putting my trust in you. I highly recommend the group administrator Rylee Caitlin.”

One of the more bizarre things that happened was that Rylee told me that there was something I needed to do before Mallory would send me the refund. It was to make a video of me saying a few code names as proof of refund.  Those code Blood and Roneo4kt were what I was supposed to say.  I told her I didn’t understand the rationale and she said that Mallory always has people do that when she sends them a refund.  And yes, I sent the video!

It wasn’t over yet.  A few days later Mallory sent me another text telling me that “I should ask $100 from my child. It isn’t a big deal and they will understand.  She said she was sure that I hadn’t even tried asking.  She said that was all it would take to get Max.  Max is only $100 away from you.  I know you can do it,” she said.

A few days after that I received another text from Mallory. She said that “Max is still available. I don’t know why you decided to abort.  He could still be yours.  I only asked for $100 – not $200 because I knew you were on a tight budget. Once again I’ll just take $100 and Max is yours.”

It is also interesting to note that about this time Rylee offered to give Mallory $100 to help me obtain Max.  She said she thought I would know that there was a shipping cost over and above the cost quoted to me in the first place.  I asked her how I would know, but didn’t get an answer.

Then Mallory said that she would be refunding my money.  She asked if I have a zelle account.  I do not.  She said she sent it as a zelle deposit but it still says “pending”.  She responded by saying if I don’t have zelle then the payment won’t go through.  She would have it cancelled and sent directly to my bank account.  She said she would send me a check.


And when I texted her back to tell her I hadn’t received a check I received this message:  “THIS PERSON IN UNAVAILABLE ON MESSENGER.” And you know what? Rylee is also unavailable.

For those of you that have pets you know the great loss felt when you lose them.  They are your life; you companion; your confidante.  In a way I felt like I lost two dogs – Shadow and Max, because I counted on having Max so badly – not to take the place of Shadow, but to be a new companion for a lonely widow.  It was not to be and it was a very costly mistake.

To conclude this dribble I must say that I have rescued another dog – not a Golden, which I still want to badly, but a Husky/Australian Shepherd mix, two years old and rescued from a kill center in San Bernardino.

She was pregnant with 9 puppies when rescued; weighed 37 pounds, – now weighs 67 – and is as destructive a dog as I have ever had before.  “Precious” is a sweetheart, but has the genes of a husky and is an escape artist, jumping over my 9 foot fence to follow a surfer; dug holes deeper than any mole or squirrel; ate 2 couches, 2 cushions, and urinates everywhere except outside.

The chair that Precious ate.

I couldn’t decide whether to keep her or to return her to the rescue agency – she had been returned 3 times already – but with help from my dog walker – Guadalupe, and Lee Wells, the dog trainer I used with Shadow and Buddy – I have decided that the challenge will be good for both of us. I have learned that I am more vulnerable than I thought, and will NEVER use Zelle again; that although I want another Golden very badly, I will not purchase one on line every again.  The lesson learned will stay with me for a long time.


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

judi January 11, 2023 at 11:14 am

A hard lesson to learn!


Kyle January 15, 2023 at 11:00 am

Where did you first come in contact with this proposed seller? A website?


Candy Ruthven January 11, 2023 at 11:27 am

Judi, I’m so very sorry about the scam! But I’m so glad you’re keeping Precious! I hope & pray she stops escaping & destroying things & that she starts going to the bathroom outside. You’re so kind to keep her. I’m glad she’s a sweetheart.


sealintheSelkirks January 11, 2023 at 12:06 pm

Way back in 1990 my ex & I adopted an Aussie/Shep mix after the kids’ big girl dog, a young St. Bernard mix, was hit by a truck and I had to put her down. But he was a beautiful dog, very friendly and happy with one blue eye, then we came to find out that he was also a serious escape artist! To the point where he jumped through a closed bathroom window to get out shattering the glass and bodily removing the screen at the same time (and didn’t cut himself, either!). He could open doorknobs, unlatch windows, tore screen doors to shreds, etc etc. I now assume he must have had one hell of a case of ‘separation anxiety’ but dang he was smart!!

My ex took him with her to the store in her Jeep Cherokee one afternoon and when she came back with the groceries the entire interior of the Jeep, including the rubber gaskets around the closed doors, were shredded. How he got his teeth into those narrow spaces is still unknown. He was un-adopted at that point.

A few years later (and a couple states west) we again adopted a aussie-shep, black lab mix, from the Eureka pound. Os was highly intelligent also, and became a hilarious companion to Kata my golden/white lab/german shep old guy ball dog because she’d steal it from him and be dancing around teasing him no end. She was a great dog…until we found out she was deathly afraid of lightning & thunder, car backfires, fireworks, and gunfire (hunting season and 4th of July always sucked). She moved with me up here in 2004 and one fine thunderstorm day she chewed the bottom of the woodshed door off in order to hide in the dark of the shed. I think Aussie shep’s all have a kink to their personalities.
As for being conned, don’t beat yourself up about it. Costly lesson yes, but these people are everywhere and are very good at using vulnerabilities of others to satisfy their greed. Hell, 72 million people voted for a con man grifter last election and a hell of a lot of them still haven’t learned that lesson!!!

Whether this one works out is unknown. But I still think the average dog is a better person than the average person.

Good luck! You’ll probably need it…heh heh heh



Debbie January 11, 2023 at 2:18 pm

WOW, what an experience! How are you going to report these scammers so it does not happen to someone else? Wishing you the best :-)

Most trainers will say no no to dogs on table or anything that elevates them because you need to be the alpha. “Pets on tables should not be encouraged, even if it is permitted, and the rules about when and where pets are allowed should be firmly delineated. If an animal jumps on a table when it is not allowed, gently but firmly remove the animal to the floor. When an animal appears to be considering the leap, clapping your hands and saying “NO!” will reinforce that pets on tables are not encouraged. Never hit an animal who is disobeying the rules: use a firm voice and clear language for discipline.”


judi January 11, 2023 at 2:24 pm

Hi Debbie. This dog is something else. I took a walk around the pool with her hoping that maybe she would urinate outside instead of inside. We got to the table and she jumped up; I got her down and walked around to the other side where she jumped up on the lid of the hot tub; I got her down and we walked around to the other side where there is another table – and guess what? Yep! she jumped on that too. And as we continued our journey she jumped up on the diving board. If I were younger I’d enroll her in a high jumping class; I bet she’d win hands down. And with all that she still didn’t urinate!


Debbie January 11, 2023 at 2:36 pm

In case you want to get another dog or if Precious does not work out


judi January 11, 2023 at 3:35 pm

I should have called you to begin with! Thanks for the information.


Frank Gormlie January 15, 2023 at 9:52 am
Judi January 15, 2023 at 11:38 am

I found the website on Facebook under golden retrievers for rehoming


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