Pet scams on the rise as adoptions skyrocket amid pandemic

Jeff Ehling Image
Friday, September 18, 2020
Pet scams on rise as adoptions skyrocket in pandemic
WATCH OUT: Don't fall for this pet scam! The Better Business Bureau says it has seen a dramatic increase in false pet advertising since the start of the pandemic.

A good way to pass the time in quarantine is to get a furry friend. Dogs and cats are in high demand and that is giving rise to scam artists.

Pet scams are not new, but the pandemic is giving them a new life.

According to the Better Business Bureau, its scam tracker received 2,166 reports of pet scams in the past few months, an increase from 700 for the same period last year and more than triple the number reported last year.

BBB says overall, pet scams make up 24% of reported online scams, with an average dollar amount lost at $700.

Here's how the scam often works:

  • You see a puppy or kitten for sale on the internet and contact the owner.
  • The owner asks them to wire money up front before you even get to pet the dog or cat.
  • They then tell you to meet somewhere, but never show up.
  • Often the picture is not even a pet the scammer had, just a stock photo.

If you are buying a pet, try checking out shelters and animal rescue organizations instead.

It's also important to ask to see the pet's vet records.

"Anyone who has animals in their care should have a veterinarian in place that takes care of the mother, as well as the babies," Julie Kuenstle with the Houston SPCA said.

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