Pet Scams on the Rise: How to Safely Find Your New Pet
If you’ve been thinking about adding a pet to your family, now may be a good time. But like any major decision, it pays to do your homework — especially because scammers are trying to take advantage of the situation.
Both the FTC and the Better Business Bureau recently announced the increase in online pet scams amidst the coronavirus pandemic. If you’re looking for a new companion during this time, here are a few tips to keep in mind, courtesy of the FTC:
Work with a reputable animal shelter or rescue league that is local. Most legitimate shelters and rescue leagues post their adoption fees online and they won’t ask you to pay additional unexpected fees. Simply googling “animal shelter near me” should provide you with a list of shelters in your area. While you’re at it, make sure you look at their reviews to see what others are saying about them!
Search online for the animal’s image. Scammers often use the same photos again and again. If the image of your cute pup or adorable kitten shows up on multiple sites, it’s a pretty good bet you’ve stumbled onto a scam.
Don’t pay with a gift card or wire money. A sure sign of a scam is someone who insists you pay by gift card or wire transfer. Gift cards and money transfers are similar to sending cash – once you send it, it is almost impossible to get it back. Instead, pay by credit card. That way, if there’s a problem, your card issuer may be able to help.
If you’ve spotted a pet adoption or sales scam, report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.
You should also check out our How Much Does a Pet Cost? article for a list of things you should consider before becoming a pet owner.