More consumers bitten by pet scams during pandemic
Since the pandemic hit, leading many to self-isolate, online pet purchases and adoptions have skyrocketed. Unfortunately, according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), so have scams.
BBB says they have received reports from across the nation of scammers advertising animals that don’t exist or are never shipped.
Coronavirus has given scammers more reasoning to ask for money upfront and/or to not meet buyers in-person.
According to the BBB Scam Tracker, over 2,000 pet scams were reported over the past few months. This is up 700 from the same time period last year. Overall, pet scams make up about a quarter of all online scams reported to the BBB’s Scam Tracker.
So, if you are looking to add a furry friend to the family, how do you avoid these online scams? BBB has a few tips:
- Don’t buy a pet without seeing it in person. If this isn’t possible, do some internet digging. Search the picture of the pet you are considering to buy or adopt, if the same picture appears on multiple websites, it’s likely a fraud. You also can search for text from ads or testimonials, to see if the seller copied it from another website.
- Avoid wiring money, or using a cash app or gift card. These methods offer no way to get your money back if you are the victim of a fraud.
- Research prices for the breed you are interested in adopting. If a usually pricey breed is deeply discounted, but with extra fees for vaccinations or shipping, it may be a scam.
- Consider reaching out to a local animal shelter. Many shelters are looking for fosters to help relieve the animal’s stress and reduce overcrowding at their facilities.