by: Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina
RALEIGH, NC — Adopting a pet is a big decision, and many locals will decide to bring a pet into their family this year. Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina wants to warn you against online pet adoption scams to make sure you get a pet from a reputable place.
In pet adoption scams, an online search can end up with a prospective pet owner paying hundreds of dollars or more to buy a pet that doesn’t exist. ultimately not. BBB advises extreme caution when buying a pet online, especially in light of changing scammers’ tactics.
This year, a Raleigh resident lost $1,600 to scam artists who promised to ship him a puppy. After payment was sent, the resident requested proof that the pup was in the seller’s possession, after which all contact ceased.
Another victim lost $2,300 to a pet scam where she transferred money for the price of a puppy and then was asked for more money to hire a crate to deliver the dog, which never arrived. It was then that the victim realized that they had been blocked by the scammer.
“Pet scams are unfortunately all too common,” said Mallory Wojciechowski, BBB President and CEO. “We urge consumers to exercise due diligence before adding a pet to the family. Far too often people lose money to these credible scams.
BBB offers the following tips for adding a pet to your family:
- See the animal in person before paying any money. Scam Tracker reports show that scammers tell people looking for pets that they can’t meet the animals before sending money. Since scammers are unlikely to comply with the request, this can help avoid a scam. You can also request a video conference with the seller and the animal if an in-person visit is not an option.
- 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 a fair price for the breed you are considering. Think twice if someone advertises a purebred dog for free or at a greatly reduced price. It could be a fraudulent offer.
- Consult a local animal shelter for any pets you may encounter before adopting.
Who to contact if you are the victim of a pet scam:
- Petscams.com – tracks complaints, lists puppy scammers and works to get fraudulent pet selling websites taken down.
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – to file a complaint online or call 877-FTC-Help.
- BBB Scam Tracker – to report an online scam and check what other consumers have encountered.
- Your credit card issuer – if you provided your credit card number, even though the transaction was not completed.