Don’t Fall For These Pet Adoption Scams

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Even under normal circumstances, people tend to feel lonely while on vacation, but bbuying a pet to fill an emotional void is particularly trending this year as we enter a holiday season as we experience a raging pandemic. Sadly, thousands of lonely Americans who search the internet for a quarantined pet find themselves victim to various scam operations, which sell puppies and kittens for hundreds and deliver nothing in return. When considering adopting a pet this winter, make sure you don’t get ripped off first.

What are these scams?

According to the Better Business Bureau, the pandemic has seen a massive increase in reported pet adoption scams. The BBB Scam Tracker has listed the rise, noting that 4,000 cases of pet fraud have been reported in the United States and Canada alone in 2020 so far. In April, the month when COVID-19 really started to ravage the country, more fraudulent sales of pets were recorded than in the previous three months of the year combined. Most scams involve the sale of puppies, but around 12% involve the sale of cats. The median loss reported to the BBB is $ 775. The total expected loss from the scams will be around $ 3 million by the end of the year, according to the BBB.

As the agency writes in a Press release:

The COVID-19 bump continues into the holiday season, with consumers reporting 337 complaints to BBB about scams with puppies in November 2020, a dramatic increase from 77 for the same month in 2019.

The scams prey on people looking to brighten up their homes in times of international crisis, so the personal stories of the victims obviously become quite sad. Yahong Zhang of Omaha, Nebraska paid $ 1,200 for two puppies to be shipped to his six-year-old son afterward he kept his promise to his father to practice the piano. The puppies never came. Kanetria Hutcherson attempted to replace her 10-year-old daughter’s cat with a new pet after she went missing, but was ripped off by crooks posing as family in Baltimore. The “little dog” she thought she was buying cost her $ 980, but he never showed up. Stories like these are numerous and detailed in the The BBB report on the rise in animal adoption scams this year.

How to identify them

A dead gift from the adoption of a pet scams is when anyone you are dealing with does not allow you to physically see the animal before paying. As the agency notes, scammers often won’t accept major credit cards and ask for direct bank transfers or some other form of payment via mobile application or gift card.

Regarding best practices, the BBB recommends:

See the animal in person before paying any money. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, consider a video call with the seller so you can see the seller and the animal for sale. Since the crooks are unlikely to comply with the request, this can help prevent a scam.

Do a reverse image search of the animal’s photo and look for a distinctive phrase in the description.

Do some research to get an idea of ​​the right price for the breed you are considering. Think twice if someone is advertising a purebred dog for free or at a very discounted price… it could be a fraudulent offer.

Discover a local animal shelter online for animals that you may encounter before adopting.

This is a strong testament to the reality that scams like this target people who try to make beautiful things for their families during the holidays. But by following some of these tips, you can make sure that you don’t throw your money away and that the puppy you bought actually shows up at your doorstep.


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