• brad

Pugalicious Superstar McMillan And The Cincinnati Sweetheart Scam


A few years ago, I came up with a bedtime story series for my boys about a Pug that got into all kinds of trouble (and was constantly eating excessive amounts of food). For this blog I am repurposing Pugalicious Superstar McMillan to highlight scams. I'm not expecting this to be turned into a children's book series (though it would be really cool to see this illustrated). This story combines Sweetheart / Romance Scams with the Cincinnati Bengal's trip to the Superbowl...and just in time for Valentine's Day!

Pugalicious Superstar McMillan And The Cincinnati Sweetheart Scam

Pugalicious Superstar McMillan was a plump Pug who loved food. Unless he was into some big adventure, he spent most of his time munching on snacks, watching his favorite tv shows and sports, and playing video games. On this day, he was kind of lonely. Pugalicious’ best friend in the world was ZL1 Camaro. ZL1 had decided to take a road trip west to watch the Superbowl and spend some track time at Laguna Seca. Road tripping wasn’t the Pug’s cup of tea, so he stayed home. Was there anyone he could hang out with to watch the big game?

The dog booted up his old computer and started looking for someone to spend time with. ‘Puggylove’ came up in the search results. He went there and started looking for a companion. Scrolling through the pages, he found who he was looking for. He was smitten by her picture, a beautiful Pug standing in a field next to a pretty tree.

Her profile showed that her name was Doris and that she, like Pugalicious, was from Cincinnati, Ohio. It said that she liked long walks on the beach, romantic dinners, and was aspiring to be a model. Pugalicious could see why; she was gorgeous. He was quick to contact her and within hours they were messaging back and forth. Pugalicious Superstar McMillan was no longer lonely.

"I can’t believe we live so close to one another,” he stated in a message.

“Yes, I love Cinncinatti!” was the reply. Strange, he thought. She didn’t know how to spell the city in which she lived.

“WHO DEY!” typed Pugalicious.

“Who, what?” was the response. Maybe she was new to the city.

“What kind of cheese coney do you like?” Like any good Cincinnatian, Pugalicious preferred Skyline Chili to other chili restaurants (those of which will not be named in this blog). He could eat 20 cheese coneys in a sitting. Doris took a while to respond.

“I like them all.” It wasn’t the best answer, but the Pug could overlook it. They exchanged chatter back and forth for a while. Pugalicious shared a photo of him at Kings Island riding a roller coaster.

“Do you have any other pictures?” It took a while for Doris to respond to this. She sent him three additional pictures.

“Wow! Those are great pictures. Say, with the big game coming up with the Bengals, would you like to come over? I’d really like to meet you and since we are close it shouldn’t be hard to meet.” Another pause from Doris.

“Pugalicious, I really wish I could. I’m not actually in Cincinattii right now. I’ve been trying to get back but I am currently stuck in Sweden after a fashion shoot went wrong. I currently owe the production company $1,000 USD and I also need a ticket back to the U.S. I really want to meet you though.”

“Doris, that sounds difficult.”

“If only I had a Pug in shining armor to rescue me from this mess.” Pugalicious thought about this for a minute. He was a Pug. And he also had a suit of armor tucked away in the basement from his days at Renaissance festivals. Perhaps he could actually be the Pug in shining armor.

“Do not fear Doris. I will help you. How much do you need?”

“Oh Pugalicious! I just need $5,000 USD sent immediately through a wire. He are the details!” She relayed the information over to him. It was strange that she had this on hand, he thought. They said their goodbyes and he ventured to his basement to retrieve the armor. He was going to do this right.

During his time going to the bank, he thought about Doris. There were some things off about her. She said she was in Cincinnati but couldn’t spell it right. She wasn’t familiar with his Bengals reference and didn’t seem to understand the importance of picking a Cincinnati-style chili (especially the right one). Then there was the Sweden dilemma. What was that about, he wondered.

Pulling into the bank parking lot, he trudged through the snow with his suit of armor on. Clanging through the doorway, the bank tellers and customers all gave him curious looks. While he did look silly, it didn’t phase Pugalicious Superstar McMillan. He was a very confident dog when it came to his chain mail and armor. He walked up to the counter.

“I’d like to talk to someone about sending some money to Sweden,” he said. The teller, a gray cat, pointed down a hallway.

“I believe Brenda Beagle is free,” she said. More clanging ensued as the Pug made his way to the banker’s office. Brenda Beagle the banker had an office that had Bengal’s memorabilia everywhere. Pugalicious was impressed.

“I’d like to make a $5,000 USD wire to Sweden!” he exclaimed. He introduced and verified himself.

“You don’t have to say USD,” Brenda said. “What is the wire for?”

Pugalicious relayed his conversation with Doris, including the things he found odd. Brenda listened to him thoughtfully.

“Pugalicious, that is a Cincinnati Sweetheart Scam. Doris isn’t really from here. She doesn’t even exist. Someone is out there pretending to be her so they will get money sent to them.” What Brenda said hit Pugalicious like a ton of bricks, which was okay because he had his armor on. He thought back. The chatting...the pictures…the connection…all lies.

“Thank you, Brenda. I thought something was strange, but I couldn’t figure it out.” At that moment Pugalicious spied a bag in the corner.

“Is that Skyline?” he asked.

“Yes, Skyline is my favorite!” she exclaimed. “I am going to probably eat a dozen coneys during the big game! WHO DEY!” At that moment, Pugalicious was smitten by Brenda Beagle the banker and Bengal’s fan.

“Would you like to come over and watch the game?” he asked. “Now that I’m not sending the $5,000, I have the money to buy a lot of coneys!”

“That sounds very romantic!” said Brenda. Pugalicious had forgotten about Doris. He was in love with a banker. “By the way, I like the armor!”




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